Nanotech: more worrying to scientists than to the general public

Nanotech: more worrying to scientists than to the general public November 30, 2007

According to a report this week in Nature Nanotechnology, scientists (namely 363 nanotech experts) are more worried about potential health and environmental effects of nanotechnology than is Joe Public – at least according to a telephone survey in the US.

Twenty percent of the scientists responding to the survey indicated a concern that new forms of nanotechnology pollution may emerge, while only 15 percent of the public thought that might be a problem. More than 30 percent of scientists expressed concern that human health may be at risk from the technology, while just 20 percent of the public held such fears.

The press release contrasts this with the US public’s relatively greater concern about GMOs and nuclear power. But frankly it seems to me that the US public has traditionally had a rather blasé attitude to GMOs (not to mention global warming).

“Scientists aren’t saying there are problems,” says the study’s lead author Dietram Scheufele, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of life sciences communication and journalism. “They’re saying, ‘we don’t know. The research hasn’t been done.'”

Ref:

Scheufele et al. Scientists worry about some risks more than the public. Nature Nanotechnology. 25 November 2007 | doi:10.1038/nnano.2007.392

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