November 24, 2007

Economist magazine wants more spent to verify safety of nanoparticles

The Economist has a lengthy article that suggests that more money and effort should be sent to verify the safety of nanoparticles.

America already spends the most on EHS (environmental health and safety) research into nanotechnology. Depending on who does the counting, it ranges from $11m to $60m.

Safety legislation cannot be expected to work until the products of the technology are better understood. What does it mean to regulate nanotechnology materials when you cannot even measure their release into the environment or agree on how to weigh a nanoparticle?

Had Dr Maynard's bag split wide open in Congress, scattering his carbon nanotubes into the air, would any harm have been caused? Probably not. But, as an answer, “probably” is not good enough.


FURTHER READING
Physorg reports that a survey in Nature Nanotechnology of 363 leading U.S. nanotechnology scientists and engineers shows that they are more concerned about the health and safety of nanoparticles than the general public.

Nanowerk has a spotlight on the issue of nanotechnology safety.


Scientists are more concerned about pollution and health but less concerned about jobs, loss of privacy, nanotech arms race, terrorist use of nanotech and self replicating robots.

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