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Investor’s Business Daily quotes from Foresight Conference

J. Bonasia of Investor’s Business Daily gives a variety of nanotech perspectives from the Foresight Conference:

“For now, green advocates appear to be cautiously optimistic about the technology. Many see it as a way to cut pollution and relieve human suffering. But they want to carefully assess nanotechnology as it evolves. ‘Nanotech is not understood by most Americans,’ said Adam Werbach, former president of the Sierra Club, at an event hosted by the Foresight Nanotech Institute. ‘This is the critical moment to encourage social debate’…

“The stakes are high enough that nanotech firms should take extra steps to safeguard their work, warns Randy Hayes, head of the Rainforest Action Network. The rapid rise of nanotech could outpace government efforts to protect public health, he says. ‘We cannot afford to have slow solutions to fast problems,’ Hayes said. He noted the risks created by past use of asbestos, lead and the pesticide DDT…

“The Foresight Nanotech Institute, based in Palo Alto, Calif., looks to keep nanotech on the right track. That includes reducing ‘nanotoxics’ and other health threats, says Scott Mize, president of the group. ‘Like all technology throughout history, we need to understand the risks,’ he said. ‘We can’t eliminate them completely, but we can reduce them through responsible action’…

“And researchers are reviewing the impact of products throughout their life cycle. That means they check everything from development to disposal, says Shannon Lloyd of First Environments, a consulting firm in Washington, D.C…

“Researchers are watching for ‘nanotoxicology’ — a term coined this year. The idea is to avoid nano materials that could be harmful. By steering clear of these substances, labs can better focus their research. ‘This is a screening tool to reduce the potential for unforeseen impacts,’ said Jo Anne Shatkin, a principal with the Cadmus Group, a consulting firm that studies nanotech risks.

“Meanwhile, many startup firms are using creative nanotech methods to help the environment. For instance, HelioVolt of Austin, Texas, puts nanotech solar panels directly into the walls of buildings for structural support. In this way, builders can conserve materials while generating local power, says B.J. Stanbery, chief executive of HelioVolt. ‘This cuts down on the use of traditional building products,’ he said. ‘The solar panel becomes the actual building material.’ “

One Response to “Investor’s Business Daily quotes from Foresight Conference”

  1. Jeanine Jackson Says:

    Caution, risks, nanotoxicology, and unforseen impacts are terms that are generally buried deeply under the excitement of emerging nanotechnologies and the efforts to accelerate them. You have my thanks as a private and concerned citizen with sincere wishes that these important messages be amplified.

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