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The goal of this paper is to investigate life cycle management of carbon nanotube (CNT)-enabled electronic devices from a regulatory perspective. At present, there are consumer products containing CNTs on the market and even more in the research and development phase. Because the environmental and human health implications of nanotubes are of great uncertainty, it is critical to explore how to safely handle and treat CNT-enabled electronics through their manufacture and end-of-life (EOL). This paper examines current U.S. Federal regulations that may be most relevant to CNT products, including the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The viability, limitations, and capacities of these laws in relation to regulating nanotubes are addressed through the example of a CNT-enabled cell phone. Findings indicate that in order to adapt existing regulations to properly manage CNTs, more data regarding their characterization, toxicity, exposure, and fate are required.
Date of Conference: 17-19 May 2010