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BioPerspectives

Assessing the Potential Risks of Nanotechnology

  • John Sterling

Nanotechnology is a transformative discipline that will revolutionize most industries, including biotechnology. One market report noted that already over $32 billion in products containing nano-materials were sold globally in 2005.

However, such a technology carries a number of inherent risks, according to an expert on the field. Andrew Maynard, Ph.D., of the The Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, says it's critical that business, government, and the public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications of nanotechnology. Dr. Maynard is considered one of the foremost international experts on addressing possible nanotechnology risks and developing safe nanotechnologies. He brings a much-needed science perspective to a field fraught with uncertainty.

During the GEN Podcast, Dr. Maynard discusses the long-term benefits using engineered nano-materials. He also spells out which critical areas the government needs to take action on regarding the environmental, health and safety risks posed by nanotech research. He points out and lists the major elements for a governmental master plan for identifying and reducing potential risks. Finally, he makes several suggestions about what industry can do to help minimize any potential risks from nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology is certain to impact every business. Be sure to listen to this weeks GENcast then return to the blog to give your thoughts on the following question:

In what areas do you think the government needs to take action concerning potential environmental, health, and safety risks posed by nanotech research?