Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Britain balances science, economics, perception

A source in Britain's nanotech research community tells me that "it's certainly going to be a big couple of days for nanotechnology in the UK." He says that nongovernmental organizations, "including ETC and the other usual suspects" are meeting tomorrow to discuss their response to this report. Meanwhile, here's some coverage from around the world:

Report Urges Nanotechnology Safety Checks (Associated Press)

    Substances made using nanotechnology should be considered new chemicals and undergo extra safety checks before they hit the market to ensure they do not pose a threat to human health, experts said Thursday.

    In a report commissioned by the British government, a panel of scientists, engineers, ethicists and other experts identified major opportunities and hazards that are likely to arise as nanotechnology - the science of manipulating matter at the molecular level - comes of age.

    The analysis, conducted by the Royal Society of Engineers and the Royal Society, Britain's academy of scientists, is the first of its kind. More here

'Tighter controls' for tiny science (BBC News)
    Tighter UK and European regulation over some aspects of nanotechnology -manipulation of molecules - is needed to ensure its long-term safety.

    A Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report said that there was no need to ban nanoparticle production.

    But more formal research of them was "urgent". Nanoparticles should also be treated as "new chemicals", it said. More here and also from the Beeb: Myths and realities of nano futures

Myths and realities of nano futures (False Positives)
    Enough material for a couple of sci fi novels in there or at least some good day dreams! One question is, of course time frames. By Short term is 5 to 10 years, with the list of "Nanotechnology in our lives" as direct examples on applications of the short term uses. The Long Terms list is more 20 to 40 years out. Industries that supply or use products in the short term list should certainly be thinking about how to take advantage of these trends, or risk becoming obsolete and/or out competed. More here
Uh-Ho Here it Comes (TNTlog)
    Jim Thomas of ETC raises one of the most irrelevant questions of the week "What does it mean for the poor, disabled, the disadvantaged - people who are usually left out of the debate?" NanoWater and the work Tim Harper is currently putting in place with the United Nations Development Program should answer that question. More here
Most nanotech poses 'no new risks' (
    Most nanotechnology poses no new risk to human health or the environment, concludes a study commissioned by the UK government.

    But the independent report, issued by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering on Thursday, recommends that "free" nanoparticles, or those that could come into direct contact with humans through the air or the skin, be subject to fresh regulatory controls. More here

Ultra-Small Nanotechnology Needs Regulation-Report (Reuters)

    Nanotechnology -- which operates on an almost unimaginably small scale -- offers tremendous potential, but regulation is needed to minimize any future risks, scientists said on Thursday.

    The atom-sized technology could lead to more powerful computers, very light but strong materials and advanced medical techniques.

    But a report by the Britain's Royal Society, an academy of leading scientists, and the Royal Academy of Engineering, said more research is needed to discover any negative, as well as positive effects, it may have. More here

Laws 'Needed to Control Nanotechnology' (
    New laws are needed to ensure that nanotechnology does not pose a future threat to human health, experts said today.

    A Government-backed report from the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering said the new science, which involves manipulating matter on ultra small scales, could bring enormous benefits.

    But it recognised there could also be hazards, especially with microscopic dust particles or “nanotube” fibres that can be inhaled.

    The report recommended that nanoparticles and nanotubes be treated as new chemicals under UK and European legislation to allow appropriate safety tests and labelling. More here Also from Nanotechnology Offers Potential to Bring Jobs, Investment and Prosperity - Lord Sainsbury

Nanotechnology tries to fix image problem (The Independent)
    Scientists are calling for a public debate into nanotechnology to dispel fears about the new science and prevent it being labelled as "another GM".

    The Royal Society says today in a report that nanotechnology - which uses molecule-sized parts as small as a billionth of a metre to do otherwise impossible tasks - could bring a huge economic boost to Britain. More here

Nanomaterials should be treated as new chemicals (Plastics & Rubber Weekly)
    Nanotubes and nanoparticles should be treated as new chemicals to trigger appropriate safety tests and minimise the possible future risks of the technology, according to a UK government report published today. When used in consumer products such as cosmetics, the report recommended that an independent scientific safety committee should give their approval for use. More here
Nanotechnologies Bring Great Potential And Need For Responsible Development (
    Nanotechnology offers many potential benefits, but its development must be guided by appropriate safety assessments and regulation to minimise any possible risks to people and the environment, according to a report published today (29 July 2004) by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering.

    The report was commissioned by the UK Government last year to consider current and future developments in nanotechnology. It identifies a range of potential benefits to be gained from nanoscience and nanotechnologies including new materials, more powerful computers and revolutionary medical techniques. The report recommends steps to realise these while minimising possible future uncertainties and risks. More here

NanoBot Backgrounder
First, blame the media
Royal Rulings
Legislation before Education
GMO is so '90s; Make way for AMO
Nano is a concept by which we measure our pain

1 comment:

Timmy said...

Wow. You've got an impressive blog.
Keep up the good work.