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Updated 10:00 AM September 21, 2007
 

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Christine Todd Whitman to deliver keynote
at nanotechnology symposium

Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will discuss nanotechnology as the keynote speaker of the 2007 Bernstein Symposium.
(Photo by Center For Risk Science And Communication)

The Oct. 25-26 symposium, "Nanotechnology and Health: Evidence and Impact," brings together leading scientists and policymakers to examine the emerging field of nanotechnology, its potential impact on human health, and the growing debate over whether and how to regulate nanotechnology products. The symposium is hosted by the Center for Risk Science and Communication, which is housed in the School of Public Health.

Whitman, who is now president of The Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm that specializes in government relations, energy and environmental issues, was governor of New Jersey from 1994-2001. She served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as administrator of the EPA from January 2001 until June 2003. She also is the author of the New York Times best seller "It's My Party Too," published in January 2005. She founded a political action committee of the same name to support Republican candidates and serves as chairperson or trustee on numerous high-profile boards and committees.

Whitman's talk is entitled "Risky, Riskier, Riskiest: The Pitfalls, Perils and Possibilities for Policymakers."

Martin Philbert, director of the Center for Risk Science and Communication, says the symposium is the first gathering of its kind combining bench-level science with risk perception and communication, and their intersection with evidence-based risk assessment.

The government is faced with having to regulate new materials with unanticipated properties without very much data on which to build their evaluation, says Philbert, also a professor of toxicology and senior associate dean for research at SPH. Moving toward evidence-based risk/benefit analysis, policy and regulation is a major challenge, he said. Communicating the risks and benefits of nanotechnology to the public will profoundly impact how the field is perceived, and how it will be allowed to impact the economy.

Other national and international scientific and policy experts will explore the implications, challenges, and opportunities presented by nanotechnology during this two-day event.

To hear Whitman and to attend the symposium, registration is required by Oct.15.

For more information and to register for the symposium, go to www.sph.umich.edu/riskcenter/2007%20Symposium/ index.htm.

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