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 Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center

nachricht Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.

Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...

Im Focus: An energy-efficient way to stay warm: Sew high-tech heating patches to your clothes

Personal patches could reduce energy waste in buildings, Rutgers-led study says

What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...

Im Focus: Lethal combination: Drug cocktail turns off the juice to cancer cells

A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.

The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...

Im Focus: New Foldable Drone Flies through Narrow Holes in Rescue Missions

A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.

Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...

Im Focus: Topological material switched off and on for the first time

Key advance for future topological transistors

Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

New Plastics Economy Investor Forum - Meeting Point for Innovations

10.12.2018 | Event News

EGU 2019 meeting: Media registration now open

06.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Data use draining your battery? Tiny device to speed up memory while also saving power

14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tangled magnetic fields power cosmic particle accelerators

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

In search of missing worlds, Hubble finds a fast evaporating exoplanet

14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>