Key to Understanding MEPs Tough Stance on Nanotechnology: Non-Binding

In a rather hastily conceived bit of public grandstanding Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted 391 votes in favor and three against, amid four abstentions to support a controversial report from Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter that urges the European Commission to consider nanomaterials as new substances, and that existing legislation does not take into account the risks associated with nanotechnology.

The key, of course, to any bit of political theater like this one is that you need to make sure that it doesnâ''t have any real consequences. In this case, the vote just supported a non-binding opinion.

But what an opinion it is, borne as it is out of the simultaneous misunderstanding of the scientific evidence thus far and perverting that evidence to support your already determined conclusions. TNTLog has a pretty accurate rundown of how these â''opinionsâ'' typically come into being.

Why couldnâ''t the MEPs offer a non-binding opinion that might actually be helpful, like we need to do more research, so letâ''s get it funded? I suppose that wouldnâ''t satisfy those so rabid for â''actionâ'' that they might actually find this opinion helpful. And let's face it, that's who this vote and opinion were meant for, not to further address the issue of nanomaterials' potential risks.

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