Many of my recent posts (here, here and here) have to do with scientists communicating effectively with citizens, and concerned citizens' desire to have a voice in how science and technology develops.
Anybody who is interested in having his or her voice heard might want to attend this first meeting, of the National Toxicology Program (NTP) Board of Scientific Counselors Nanotechnology Working Group on Friday, June 24 in Research Triangle Park, NC. It's open to the public and will also be Webcast. More details on the group can be found here, select "Advisory Boards & Committees."
This meeting is significant in that it's the first official opportunity for the general public to speak to government agencies about their concerns over health effects of nanomaterials. The meeting is going to be mostly federal agencies discussing nano efforts in their organizations, but there will be time allotted for public comment.
The NTP's Kristina Thayer tells me the the toxicology program is an "interagency program whose mission is to evaluate agents of public health concern by developing and applying the tools of modern toxicology and molecular biology. This involves conducting toxicological evaluations of substances of public health concern, developing and validating improved (sensitive, specific, rapid) testing methods, developing approaches and generating data to strengthen the science base for risk assessment, and communicating with all stakeholders."
The Nanotechnology Working Group was created specificically to address public concern and disseminate information to all stakeholders.
I repeated "stakeholders" on purpose. That's you. All of you. From THONG to thientist ... um ... scientist. Here's the advantage of living in a democracy as opposed to, well, not.