Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Alan Shalleck-NanoClarity > The Media's Wrong View of Nanotechnology Put Reality Back in the Image

Alan Shalleck
President
NanoClarity LLC

Abstract:
The media presents Nanotechnology in an unbalanced way. That view needs correcting. Most current nanotech articles focus only on Environmental, Health and Safety issues emphasizing solely the dire risks of nanotechnology while saying virtually nothing about the amazing (and safe) commercialization of the industry within most parts of the world wide GNP. On review, based on real product experience and good laboratory data, it seems all dire forecasting of immediate danger is a complete fabrication. Such false publicity is bad for the industry and worse for nanotech's promise in the economy.

August 2nd, 2009

The Media's Wrong View of Nanotechnology Put Reality Back in the Image

The Media's Wrong View of Nanotechnology
Put Reality Back in the Image
By
Alan b. Shalleck
NanoClarity LLC.
July - August 2009


The media presents Nanotechnology in an unbalanced way. That view needs correcting. Most current nanotech articles focus only on Environmental, Health and Safety issues emphasizing solely the dire risks of nanotechnology while saying virtually nothing about the amazing (and safe) commercialization of the industry within most parts of the world wide GNP. On review, based on real product experience and good laboratory data, it seems all dire forecasting of immediate danger is a complete fabrication. Such false publicity is bad for the industry and worse for nanotech's promise in the economy.

The $35 billion plus in 2009 "safe product" sales of nanotech-containing products are never emphasized in the press. Those with the loudest voice (and in many instances those with both an agenda and no true knowledge of nanotech) have skewed the public media toward calamity. Disastrous forecasting (the end of the world as we know it due to nanotechnology) sells magazines, gains readership and attracts, in the digital world, "eyeballs" - but does not tell a truth.

Such news skewing irrationally scares the uninformed or partially aware public, already primed by genetic modification fears, and makes a weak financing climate worse. It can lead to irrational caution in customers, financing companies making decisions on ‘risk' not on economic return, desperation in nanotech management and to companies, faced with limited operating funds, entering bankruptcy as financing options are scared away by attorneys. It is time we in the industry called the media on its wrong headedness.

Reading most of the nanotech headlines these last six to nine months anyone would think that people are already dying from skin cancer from minor nanotech exposure or getting sick in massive numbers all over the world from carbon nanotubes (CNT)s, nanodots, nanosized cosmetic ingredients, or nanotechnology manufacturing processes. If you believed the headlines, CNTs are the next asbestos or that, because many nanotech sized particles may cross the blood brain barrier, we are all going to be driven mad by a few such particles which are it seems naturally cleared by the normal body processes. Many of us who have lived in urban environments have been inhaling nanosized smog particles most of our lives and we keep getting up every morning, an empirical fact that is carefully ignored by the media and the ESH investigators in their dire predictions.

The timing of this imbalance couldn't have been worse, driving out news of the new and amazingly unique nanotech enhanced products that continue to be introduced monthly, even in this sick economic environment. This skewed focus is doing great damage to promising nanotech product introduction efforts and to potential very badly needed nanotechnology financing.

Let us review some facts. Speculation about dire potential effects on living things from nanotech is totally unsupported by the true data form independent investigators of the industry collected over the last nine years. No one seems to have died solely from nanotech products and no one has become direly sick traceable directly to sensible nanotechnology involvement. There is no pending pandemic of maladies being brought on by nanotechnology. No one seems to have incurred long-term damage to their bodies or progeny from nanotech products or research. And more. There is no evidence anywhere of major threat to mankind.

Clearly, that nanotech is one of the primary dangers to life these days is just poppycock. Interestingly, even the Government regulatory authorities seem to know this. You do not see them in the courts asking judges to issue cease and desist injunctions and off the market edicts.

More to the point, scientific studies are now showing, contrary to the scare tactics of those who want to make EHS headlines or obtain research funds from the government by raising shibboleths about EHS, that the nanotech implementations of previously marketed safe products are not only better products but also safer than previous models or implementations.

For example, look at the specific case of nanoenhanced sun block and cosmetics. Many scare EHS articles recently have been published on the potential dangers associated with nanosized ZnO and other sun blockers in commercial sun screen offerings. These articles suggest that the smaller particles will penetrate deeply into the skin, enter blood systems, lodge in organs and cause internal havoc leading to permanent harm to the user. Bah, humbug!

However, recent scientific articles show the reverse is true. Curiously, these studies show that the ingredients that the nanomaterials replace were more dangerous to the body in the formula than the nanotech now included. There are more such specific product examples.

Last, the EPA, which aggressively had gone after the makers and users of CNT, claiming that CNT's were inherently bad for all and needed blanket regulation, has now quietly backed off from a global position and now states that it will consider the risks, if any, in a CNT application on a case by case basis. Doesn't sound like the world is coming to an end from CNT any more.

A final comment. There are readers who will take issue with my posture in this column. They will call me many names including turncoat. Mind you, I am as "green" and as "health" and "environmentally" concerned as any of you. However, I have observed this industry for nine years and I do not like distortion and exploitation of the hard work and good science that has gotten us this far. I wrote in one of these columns four years ago that the nanotechnology industry is amazingly responsible and self-policing. Each of us has children and some of us grand children. No one wants to create a product or a system that would intentionally do temporary or permanent harm to those of the next generations. I therefore call on the media, and some of the so-called responsible non-profit companies that have conned the government out of major money to study low probability risks, to change their positions and attitudes. Look at the data, not the mythology. Look at the evidence, not the fiction. Write about what is real, not about what is imagined or unsupported. Raise any issue you want but do it in a balanced and evidence supported way. Promote the responsible development of nanotechnology. Do not kill the promise of nanotech with bias and misstatements. You will be putting many people out of responsible work.


Alan B. Shalleck
NanoClarity LLC
www.nanoclarity.com


© NanoClarity LLC 2009

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE