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The researchers suggested that, in lieu of future regulation, "anticipatory governance" by companies handling the materials would be wise
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and conclusions are detailed in Philbrick's article, "An Anticipatory Governance Approach to Carbon Nanotubes," in the November issue of the journal Risk Analysis published by the Society for Risk Analysis. The entire November issue is devoted to risk analysis articles related to nanotechnology.
The research did not identify certain risks, but suggested that "an anticipatory approach is particularly important until the toxicity and behavior of CNTs in the environment are better understood, especially as they can remain airborne for extended periods, and share some characteristics with asbestos," according to a press release. The article notes that studies on rodents found similarities between the inhalation of asbestos and carbon nanotubes.
The recommended safety protocols would be similar to that for asbestos, as well as implementing strong engineering controls for CNT research and manufacturing, avoiding applications where CNTs would be routinely released to the environment, and planning for recycling at the end of a product's useful life.
The paper can be read at here.
SOURCE: Press release