The study is the first to compare the public’s perception of the risks associated with nanoparticles to other environmental and health safety risks. Researchers found that nanoparticles are perceived as being a relatively low risk.
“For example, 19 of the other public-health risks were perceived as more hazardous, including suntanning and drinking alcohol,” says Dr. Andrew Binder, an assistant professor of communication at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the study. “The only things viewed as less risky were cell-phone use, blood transfusions, commercial air travel and medical X-rays.”
In fact, 60 percent of respondents felt that nanoparticles posed either no health risk or only a slight health risk.
In the study, researchers asked a nationally representative panel of 307 people a battery of questions about how risky they believe nanoparticles are compared to 23 other public health risks – such as obesity, smoking, using cell phones and nuclear energy.
Policy implications of these findings could be substantial given the concerns expressed by proponents and opponents of nanotechnology that the public is wary of its environmental health and safety dangers. “The findings suggest just the opposite,” says Dr. David Berube, professor of communication at NC State and lead author of the study. “While it remains unclear whether nanoparticles are safe, they are not a major concern among the general public.”
The paper, “Comparing nanoparticle risk perceptions to other known EHS risks,” is forthcoming from the Journal of Nanoparticle Research. The paper was co-authored by Berube and Binder; Jordan Frith and Christopher Cummings, Ph.D. students at NC State; and Dr. Robert Oldendick of the University of South Carolina. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation.
NC State’s Department of Communication is part of the university’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Note to Editors: The study abstract follows.
“Comparing nanoparticle risk perceptions to other known EHS risks”
Authors: David M. Berube, Christopher L. Cummings, Jordan H. Frith, Andrew R. Binder, North Carolina State University; Robert Oldendick, University of South Carolina
Published: Forthcoming, Journal of Nanoparticle Research
Abstract: Over the last decade social scientific researchers have examined how the public perceives risks associated with nanotechnology. The body of literature that has emerged has been methodologically diverse. The findings have confirmed that some publics perceive nanotechnology as riskier than others, experts feel nanotechnology is less risky than the public does, and despite risks the public is optimistic about nanotechnology development. However, the extant literature on nanotechnology and risk suffers from sometimes widely divergent findings and has failed to provide a detailed picture of how the public actually feels about nanotechnology risks when compared to other risks. This study addresses the deficiencies in the literature by providing a comparative approach to gauging nanotechnology risks. The findings show that the public does not fear nanotechnology compared to other risks. Out of 24 risks presented to the participants, nanotechnology ranked 19th in terms of overall risk and 20th in terms of “high risk.”
Matt Shipman | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur
What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
25.07.2018 | Event News
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences
16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.08.2018 | Life Sciences