New Blog Looks at Potential Nanotechnology Risks

Contact: Sharon McCarter, 202.691.4016


Washington, D.C. - 11/07/2007 - Are nanoparticles safe to breathe? Do carbon nanotubes behave like asbestos? What does the public think about nanotechnology's risk-benefit trade-offs?

You can find the answers to these questions and more in an exciting new blog hosted by SAFENANO (See: http://www.community.safenano.org/blogs). Andrew D. Maynard, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies chief scientist, will be a regular contributor to the blog and will explore the many facets of nanotechnology's benefits and risks.

In his latest blog post, "Invest in nano applications, and the risks will take care of themselves?," Maynard examines recent Congressional testimony by venture capitalist and co-chair of the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) Floyd Kvamme. Maynard was a witness with Kvamme at last week's House Science Committee hearing about research into nanotechnology's possible health and environmental impacts. Maynard's blog post spotlights "red flags," which Kvamme's testimony ignores, about the possible risks of some nanoparticles, and questions whether enough is being done to ensure the safety of rapidly emerging nanotechnology-based products.

The SAFENANO blog, and particularly Andrew Maynard's contribution are a "must read" for nanoscientists, businesspeople, journalists and others interested in the technology that will lead to what some are calling the next Industrial Revolution. The blog combines wit, policy insights and scientific rigor.

Maynard is one of the foremost international experts on addressing possible nanotechnology risks and developing safe nanotechnologies. He holds a Ph.D. in ultrafine aerosol analysis from Cambridge University (UK). His recent Congressional and public testimonies are available online at www.nanotechproject.org.

SAFENANO, the UK's premier resource on nanotechnology health and safety, is a venture by the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) in Great Britain. The SAFENANO initiative's mission is to provide independent, impartial advice and consultancy concerning the potential risks to the environment and human health from nanoparticles, and to help industrial and academic communities quantify and control the risks to their workforce, consumers and the general populations and the environment.

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. A human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. According to Lux Research, emerging nanotechnology was incorporated into more than $50 billion in manufactured goods in 2006. By 2014, a projected $2.6 trillion in global manufactured goods will incorporate nanotech, or about 15 percent of total output.

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (www.wilsoncenter.org) and The Pew Charitable Trusts (www.pewtrusts.org) in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies on PewHealth.org.

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