Too small for concern? Public health and nanotechnology

Diana M. Bowman, Michael Fitzharris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


While advances in nanotechnology promise to deliver significant benefits to many aspects of health care, there is increasing concern that regulatory regimes do not adequately capture the potential risks associated with this new technology. Concerns have arisen due to preliminary evidence suggesting that some engineered nanoparticles may display undesirable toxicological properties, presenting potential risks to human and environmental health and safety. Within this context, the role of Australia's National Industrial Chemicals and Assessment Scheme and the Therapeutic Goods Administration in regulating nano-based substances is explored. Drawing on earlier regulatory failures, combined with the scientific uncertainty surrounding nanotechnology, this article recommends that Australia adopt a proactive regulatory approach to nanotechnology through amendments to present legislative regimes. The approach articulated in this article strikes a balance between the current approach and that of the European Union's comprehensive new chemicals regime. Immediate regulatory change is called for in order to ensure that the health of the Australian public is adequately protected over the coming years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-384
Number of pages3
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Human health
  • Nanotechnology
  • Personal care products
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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