Tuesday, January 13, 2004

New materials are not without risk


Good day. I read your blog frequently and enjoy it thoroughly (long time listener, first time caller). On the nanotube/rats story, I am pleased that DuPont is weighing in on the subject. I have worked in the chemical/materials industry for some time. A few years ago, we founded a nanotube manufacturing company (SWeNT) with the University of Oklahoma and ConocoPhillips.

The article illustrates why toxicity testing can initially involve less expensive short-term tests using exaggerated, conservative (high-exposure) animal test models. These are valid and important studies. However, the ultimate tests need to closely mimick human exposure (i.e. suspended particulate exposure) at exposure concentrations only perhaps 10-100 fold (not 10,000-1,000,000 fold) above worst-case human exposure.

SWeNT and OU are conducting experiments to determine how nanotubes react in living systems. Additionally, we are looking at environmental effects.

The bottom line is that new materials are not without risk. For hundreds of years, those risks have been managed by those before us, because it was important to the future of their organization.

Let us move forward as an industry, and engage this important debate head-on. Good product stewardship will be the cornerstone of a sustainable and successful nanomaterial industry.

Warmest Regards,
Mike Moradi
SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc.

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Nanotubes and the tale of the rats
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