With the use of nanotechnology on the increase, European countries are seeking to regulate its use. In the UK, the Nano-BEE (Nanomaterial Bioavailability and Environmental Exposure Consortia) was set up in January 2011 to carry out risk assessments on nanomaterials used in consumer goods.
A manufacturer using nanotechnology is responsible, like all manufacturers, for ensuring that any product it puts on the market is safe. However, the impact on risk assessments when using the technology is more significant since the particles can be easily absorbed by humans and therefore the potential for reactivity may be higher when compared with larger scale materials.
Despite the fact that investigations into the possible health effects of nanoparticles are still relatively new, there is the possibility that claims will arise even where no personal injury has occurred. In the US earlier this year, an action was brought against the US Food and Drugs Administration in an attempt to force them to regulate products containing nanotechnology: (International Control For Tech Assessment v Hamburg ). In such cases, if it is found that there is an increased risk of injury or disease from using a particular product, a claim might be made for medical monitoring of a potential future risk.