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The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology today announced its conditional support of the Greenpeace report, "Future technologies, today's choices", about the risks, benefits, and current status of nanotechnology. "We've heard from extremists on both sides," said Mike Treder, Executive Director of CRN. "Now it's time for sober discussion and serious research. This report clearly is a step forward."
Chris Phoenix, CRN's Director of Research, agreed. "We have to accept that some nanomaterials and nanotechnologies may be hazardous. But we use hazardous materials all the time, safely and beneficially. We'll need to study and decide case by case. We need information and common sense, not panic or denial."
CRN has primarily focused on the benefits and dangers of molecular nanotechnology (MNT), which promises someday to allow flexible atomic-scale manufacture of breakthrough products. "Many have argued, loudly but weakly, that MNT is impossible," said Treder. "The Greenpeace report acknowledges difficulties, but opens the door to consideration of the possibilities."
CRN believes that serious discussion of the consequences of MNT is necessary now. "Progress may happen sooner than people think," said Phoenix. "Once the engineers start working on it, the field could take off very quickly, and its impact could be massive."
Within the next several days, CRN will issue a supplementary commentary on the Greenpeace report, addressing the technical issues that were raised about MNT. Following are specific comments on statements made by Dr. Doug Parr, Greenpeace Chief Scientist, in his Forward to the report:
Greenpeace (GP): "Any technology placed in the hands of those who care little about the possible environmental, health, or social impacts is potentially disastrous."
* For an explanation of CRN's position regarding the precautionary principle, see CRNano.org/precautionary.htm.
The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology™ is headquartered in New York. CRN is an affiliate of World Care®, an international, non-profit, 501(c)3 organization. For more information on CRN, see www.CRNano.org.
Reprinted with premission.
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