26 Nov Nanotech health risks worry scientists more than laypeople
A telephone survey led by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers this summer found that proportionally more scientists than laypeople are worried about some risks of nanotechnology. The study is to be published in Nature Nanotechnology.
Potential health risks were the largest worry: More than 30 percent of scientists were concerned about them, compared to 20 percent of the public. Nanotechnology can create new, previously unused chemicals and materials and is already commonly used in household products such as cosmetics and cleaning products.
Scientists also expressed more concern about pollution; laypeople were more likely to worry about job losses, an arms race, or a loss of privacy.
“Scientists aren’t saying there are problems. They’re saying, ‘we don’t know. The research hasn’t been done,'” said Dietram Scheufele, UW-Madison professor of life sciences communication and journalism, in Nature Nanotechnology.
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