Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study reveals the public’s willingness to use specific nanoproducts

06.12.2006
The largest and most comprehensive survey of public perceptions of nanotechnology products has found that US consumers are willing to use specific nano-containing products – even if there are health and safety risks – when the potential benefits are high.

Published in the December issue of Nature Nanotechnology, the study also found that US consumers rate nanotechnology as less risky than everyday technologies like herbicides, chemical disinfectants, handguns and food preservatives.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at Rice University’s Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN), UCL and the London Business School, is the largest survey yet conducted on public willingness to use commercial nanotechnology products.

Lead researcher Professor Steven Currall, a management and entrepreneurship expert who conducted the research while a faculty member at Rice and while at UCL and London Business School, where he currently holds academic appointments, says: “By some estimates, products containing nanotechnology already account for more than $30 billion in annual global sales, but there is concern that the public’s fixation with nanotechnology’s risks – either real or imaged – will diminish consumers’ appetite for products. “Measuring public sentiment toward nanotechnology lets us both check the pulse of the industry right now, and chart the growth or erosion of public acceptance in the future.”

Professor Currall and a co-author Dr Neal Lane, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy and former US Presidential Science Advisor, will report their findings at a programme and live webcast on Tuesday 5 December at 14.30–15.30 in the 5th Floor Conference Room of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Webcast: www.wilsoncenter.org/nano

The research was based on more than 5,500 survey responses. The authors of the article developed the surveys, which were administered by Zogby International. The surveys defined nanotechnology as involving “human-designed materials or machines at extremely small sizes that have unique chemical, physical, electrical or other properties”.

One survey polled consumers about how likely they would be to use four specific, nano-containing products: a drug, skin lotion, automobile tires and refrigerator gas coolant. This is the first large-scale study to experimentally gauge the public’s reaction to specific, nano-containing products, and Currall said the use of scenarios about plausible, specific products yielded results that challenge the assumption that the public focuses narrowly on risk.

“It was clear that people were thinking about more than risk,” he said. “The average consumer is pretty shrewd when it comes to balancing risks against benefits, and we found that the greater the potential benefits, the more risks people are willing to tolerate.”

Study co-author Dr Neal Lane, who helped craft the US’s National Nanotechnology Initiative during his tenure as director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, said the public is likely to become more aware of nanotechnology’s risks as environmental health and safety research is completed and as nanomaterials find their way into more products. What remains to be seen is whether the public’s budding perceptions of the benefits of nanotechnology will also grow, he added: “We propose that academic bodies like the UK’s Royal Society and the US’s National Academies set up interagency clearinghouses to coordinate public education and synthesize the latest scientific findings.

“Transmitting the latest information about both risks and benefits, in a timely, thorough and transparent way, will minimise the likelihood of a polarised public debate that turns on rumour and supposition.”

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation through CBEN.

Judith Moore | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wilsoncenter.org/nano
http://www.ucl.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system'

23.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

'Quartz' crystals at the Earth's core power its magnetic field

23.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Antimicrobial substances identified in Komodo dragon blood

23.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>