Traditional risk management principles are inadequate and unworkable for nanotechnology, and new flexible approaches are needed, according to a paper by Gary Marchant, Doug Sylvester and Ken Abbott, professors at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. "Risk Management Principles for nanotechnology" was published in the February 2008 issue of NanoEthics, a journal of Springer Science + Business Media. nanotechnology presents an unprecedented challenge and an unparalleled opportunity for risk management because it doesn't fit traditional models, the authors wrote. There also are enormous uncertainties about the risks, benefits, properties and future direction of nanotechnology applications. However, waiting for the uncertainties to be resolved before building a new model is unwise, they said, due to the growing public demands for regulatory oversight. In their paper, Marchant, executive director of the College's Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, Sylvester, a Center faculty fellow, and Abbott, a Willard H. Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar, propose a new risk management model that is more incremental, reflexive and cooperative. Such a model also will have future applications, they wrote. It "will create a new precedent that could be used for other emerging technologies of the future," the professors wrote. "For example, looking to the recent past, a model similar to that proposed here might have helped smooth the introduction of genetically modified foods. "As we look to other technology revolutions looming in the future, including emergency developments in telecommunication technologies, surveillance technologies, genetic enhancement, cognitive sciences, and many others, the need to develop new, better models for risk management (starting with nanotechnology) becomes all the more urgent." To read the paper, click here.