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Nanolecture Series 2019-2020


Global Health Impacts of Nanotechnology Law

Ilise Feitshans, JD, ScM, DIR

Fellow, International Law of Nanotechnology
European Scientific Institute, Archamps Technopole

Date:       December 5th, 2019

Time:        1:00-2:00 pm

Location: 665 Huntington Ave, Building 1, Room 1302

                  Boston, MA, 02115

Abstract: Europe is creating methods for regulating nanotechnology which may become a prototype for science governance globally. When nanotechnology applications pose unquantified risk, several Paneuropean projects attempt to balance two competing social needs: creating a culture of innovation and discovery while protecting safety of consumers and workers and protecting environmental and human health. The European Food Safety Authority, several agencies involved in the Registration Evaluation and Assessment of Chemicals (REACh) and the European Medical Agency are examples of established areas of law creating a new system that allocate responsibly before any harm occurs rather than using retrospective tools such as enforcement penalties and litigation. Additionally, the NANORIGO (NANOtechnology Risk Governance) project has a broad mission that includes creating a Risk Governance Council for nanotechnology. The project is mandated to address: Commercial application of Safe by Design Moving from Nanosafety to Governance. This lecture describes nanotechnology’s basic laws and NANORIGO plans with a view understanding nanotechnology’s impact for health systems implementing precautionary principles under law, which holds implications for European federalism and may change the face of trade law governing commerce globally.


Biographical Sketch: Dr. Ilise L. Feitshans, JD, ScM, DIR, international lawyer and former international civil servant at the United Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, obtained her masters of science in public health from Johns Hopkins University, USA, and doctorate in international relations from Geneva School of Diplomacy, Switzerland, in 2014. She is a Fellow in Law of Nanotechnology at the European Scientific Institute, Archamps, France (affiliated with CERN and the University of Grenoble), and executive director of the Work Health and Survival Project. She is also a member of the US Supreme Court bar and was acting director of the Legislative Drafting Research Fund, Columbia University School of Law, New York, USA. Her pro-bono activities include Legal Advisor to the Greek National Platform on Nanomedicine, University of Aristotle, Thessaloniki, Greece, since 2015 and Legal Advisor for the European Commission to NANORIGO (Nantoechnology Risk Governance Council) to be developed by2022. Ilise served as coordinatrice for the ILO Encyclopedia of Occupational Health and Safety in Geneva, Switzerland. A graduate cum laude of Barnard College of Columbia University, New York, USA, she was also visiting scientist at the Institute for Work and Health, University of Lausanne, Switzerland (2011–2014). She was honored among “100 Women Making a Difference in Safety, Health and Environment Professions” by the American Society of Safety Engineers in 2011 and received the Ms-JD.org Superwomen award in 2016. Her doctorate in international relations also won the best research prize in social medicine and prevention at the University of Lausanne in 2014.

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