American Bar Association (ABA)

CERCLA Nanotechnology Issues


Courtesy of American Bar Association (ABA)

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq., deals with risks to human health and the environment posed by uncontrolled releases of hazardous materials.

In the context of a rapidly emerging nanotechnology and nanomaterials sector, existing CERCLA mechanisms would be useful primarily to provide response and liability authority if releases of nanoscale materials prove hazardous to human health or the environment. The retrospective CERCLA liability framework is probably most valuable as a backup tool to deal with adverse consequences that are unanticipated or that otherwise elude environmental regulation. Certain provisions of the statute may also operate prospectively to regulate current use and disposal of nanomaterials classified as hazardous.

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