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Archive for the 'Environment, Health, and Safety' Category

EPA encourages input to develop risk management practices for nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 28th, 2009

Following up on recent posts about concern in the insurance industry and in Congress about risk management practices for (current and near-term) nanotechnology, David Forrest passes along this news of recent action at EPA: The EPA has published their Interim Report on the Nanomaterials Stewardship Program and continues to invite comment for the final version. [...]

Insurance industry looking for more data on nanotechnology risks

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 26th, 2009

Last September we wrote that one insurer would “no longer insure against bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury related to the actual, alleged, or threatened presence of or exposure to nanotubes or nanotechnology in any form.” Now Christine Peterson passes along this item from Rhitu Chatterjee writing in the American Chemical Society [...]

Nanotechnology oversight issues moving forward in Congress

Posted by Jim Lewis on January 21st, 2009

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, via AAAS EurekAlert, brings us an update on federal efforts to address the potential environmental, health and safety (EHS) risks posed by engineered nanomaterials. “New House bill addresses need for more risk research, oversight“: The House Science and Technology Committee [on January 15] introduced legislation that highlights the growing attention [...]

Civil nanotechnology: Open source sensing in Seed magazine

Posted by Christine Peterson on January 16th, 2009

From the February 2009 issue of the “science is culture” publication Seed magazine, not yet online: Hypothesis: Civil Nanotechnology Starting in 2009, nanotech-based sensing will enable a level of environmental monitoring that could help reduce pollution tremendously. Such devices could be of immense benefit to the environment, but unfortunately, without careful attention they will trigger [...]

The weather machine

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 23rd, 2008

The following is an edited and revised version of the talk I gave at the Global Catastrophic Risks conference that was held in conjunction with Convergence 08 (and which I reprised for Convergence). I’m posting it here because it seems to me that this is exactly the kind of thing Foresight was founded for: to [...]

Study of the FDA’s ability to regulate nanotechnology-based dietary supplements to be released

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 16th, 2008

How well prepared is the FDA to regulate nanotech products? Perhaps not very well, at least in the area of dietary supplements.

NanoPhobia … Phobia

Posted by J. Storrs Hall on December 10th, 2008

In an interesting coincidence and counterpoint to Jim’s Nanophobia post this morning, I ran across the following on Nature News: Fearing the fear of nanotechnology. It is, surprisingly perhaps, by our old friend Richard Jones. The thrust of the article is that a study in Nature Nanotechnology seems to show that the public’s reaction to [...]

Uncertainty over safety of nanotechnology in consumer products

Posted by Jim Lewis on December 10th, 2008

It is not clear that there is any real danger from the nanotech products currently in use, but neither is there convincing proof that all are safe.

UK report urges more tests of health and environmental effects of nanotechnology products

Posted by Jim Lewis on November 14th, 2008

The report concludes that nanotech products are coming to market without adequate tests for safety based upon the unique properties of the nanomaterials.

One Insurer Excludes Nanotechnology from Policies

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 30th, 2008

Christine Peterson passes along this item from a recent (September 25, 2008) NanoBusiness Alliance Newsletter: Insurer Excludes Nanotechnology from Policies Beginning November 15, the Continental Western Insurance Group will no longer insure against bodily injury, property damage, or personal and advertising injury related to the actual, alleged, or threatened presence of or exposure to nanotubes [...]

Postdoctoral associate sought to conduct research on the social and ethical implications of nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 30th, 2008

An announcement of an open position from the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility: Successful candidates will have a Ph.D. in communication, science and technology studies, or closely aligned social scientific field. Research experience and knowledge of social and ethical issues of science, preferably nanotechnology, is preferred. For the complete announcement:

International alliance to establish safety protocols for nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 16th, 2008

An increasingly serious research effort is being mounted to ensure the safe development and commercialization of nanotechnology (see, for example, this news from a couple weeks ago). The recent formation of an international alliance to establish the methods used to test the safety of nanotech materials is not only encouraging for the development of nanotechnology [...]

Study to determine what happens to nanotechnology materials released to the environment

Posted by Jim Lewis on September 5th, 2008

A new study will trace the movement of nanoparticles through the environment and determine their impact on health and natural systems.

Open source nanotechnology for clean water

Posted by Christine Peterson on July 15th, 2008

From the conference report Setting an Agenda for the Social Studies of Nanotechnology (PDF): For example, researchers at Rice University have been working on the use of nanoparticles to absorb arsenic from drinking water supplies. Nanoscale iron oxide absorbs arsenic effi ciently, but in many countries implementing the process is either too expensive or technically [...]

Call to prevent carbon nanotubes from becoming the ‘asbestos’ of nanotechnology

Posted by Jim Lewis on May 22nd, 2008

The safe commercialization of nanotech will require special attention to the manufacture and disposal of materials using carbon nanotubes.

Nanotechnology to kill bacteria OK in hospitals but suspect in commercial products

Posted by Jim Lewis on May 12th, 2008

There is hope that nanotechnology in the form of silver nanoparticles will provide protection against drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals, but there is also concern that unregulated use of silver nanoparticles in commercial products will damage the environment.

Reynolds promotes nanotechnology for Earth Day

Posted by Christine Peterson on April 22nd, 2008

Foresight advisor Glenn Reynolds opines about nanotech in the NY Post for Earth Day: MIT’s Vladimir Bulovic calls nanotech a potentially “disruptive technology” in the solar-energy field, offering a complete shift from today’s fossil-fuel environment… Nanotech offers dramatic improvements on the side of energy consumption, too: As computing and other devices become smaller, they become [...]

Nanotechnology uses molecular motor to reveal presence of single DNA molecule

Posted by Jim Lewis on March 28th, 2008

Nanotechnology may enable faster and more sensitive detection of disease by using a molecular motor to spin a gold nanorod in the presence of the right DNA molecule.

Ocean iron fuss is not about nanotechnology

Posted by Christine Peterson on March 6th, 2008

We’ve written here before about the plan to put iron nanoparticles in the ocean as a way to increase growth of plankton, thereby absorbing carbon dioxide. Previously this was to be done by a company called Planktos; now a new company called Climos is making similar plans. There was controversy about Planktos, and no doubt [...]

LA Times features nanotechnology debate

Posted by Christine Peterson on February 27th, 2008

All this week, NanoBusiness Vice President Aatish Salvi debates nanotechnology with the Center for Technology Assessment’s George Kimbrell over at the LA Times online. An excerpt from the former: Realizing the benefits of nanotechnology will take time. That should come as no surprise. Nanotech is trying to solve some of the hardest and most meaningful [...]