Scientist bemoans nanotechnology 'hard sell'

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Scientist bemoans nanotechnology 'hard sell'

Fear of 'grey goo' holding back research.

Uncertainty and fear of the unknown are making nanotechnology a "hard sell" to consumers, a pro-nanotech pressure group admitted today.

Dr Andrew Maynard, chief scientist at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, said: "If consumers and other stakeholders are not convinced that the benefits outweigh the risks, many [nanotechnology] applications will not see the light of day.

"Likewise, if the benefits are unclear and the risks uncertain, the products of nanotechnology will be a hard sell."

Dr Maynard's remarks came during a presentation today before a public meeting of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The scientist is part of a panel devoted to addressing and managing the potential health, environmental and safety risks of nanotechnology.

"Nanotechnology is turning our world upside down, but it is also shaking up our understanding of what makes something harmful and how we deal with that," Dr Maynard added.

He described current US policy toward managing the possible health and safety risks of nanotechnologies as "approaching 21st century technologies with a 20th century mindset".

Dr Maynard called on the US Federal government to develop a goal-driven risk research strategy to provide decision-makers, including regulators, industry and consumers, with the information they need to help develop and use nanotechnologies safely.
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