Asia: No Law for Nano?

Md. Ershadul Karima, Abu Bakar Munira,
Siti Hajar Mohd Yasinb, Firdaus Muhammad-Sukkic

Abstract – Nanotechnology, often referred to as the next industrial revolution after internet, is an interdisciplinary study with limitless potential. It is now in the stage where ICT and use of plastic was in 1960s and biotechnology in 1980s. Already around 2000 consumer products are in the market and ILO predicts that by 2020, 20% of the products will be developed using nanotechnology. UNESCO traced top ten applications of nanotechnology within the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which are: (a) Energy storage; productions and conversion; (b) Agricultural productivity enhancement; (c) Water treatment and remediation; (d) Disease diagnosis and screening; (e) Drug delivery systems; (f) Food processing and storage; (g) Air pollution and remediation; (h) Construction; (i) Health monitoring, and (j) Vector and pest detection and control. With all these promises, concerns are also there, as majority of the researchers feel that nanoparticles must have some adverse health and environmental effects. Besides, to many organisations, nanotechnology is the next asbestos. However, this is a matter of great concern that there is no specific legal framework to deal with nanotechnology. The mistakes for which the introductions of genetically modified food or nuclear energy could not be successful, should not be repeated and the application of nanotechnology should be encouraged within the approved legal framework. Some of the Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Taiwan and few other have already achieved tremendous success in this area. This paper aims at introducing the legal aspects of nanotechnology and its regulatory developments in some of the Asian countries. The consideration of most of the available literature in this area being mainly from Europe and North America, this paper aims to share the legal development of nanotechnology in Asia.

a Faculty of Law, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
b Faculty of Law, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
c Faculty of Engineering, Multimedia University, Persiaran Multimedia, 63100 Cyberjaya, Selangor, Malaysia

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