- About Us
- Career Center
- Nano-Social Network
- Nano Consulting
- My Account
The largest, most comprehensive survey of public perceptions of nanotechnology products finds U.S. consumers are willing to use specific nano-containing products - even if there are health and safety risks - when the potential benefits are high. The study also finds U.S. consumers rate
nanotechnology as less risky than everyday technologies like herbicides, chemical disinfectants, handguns and food preservatives. The findings appear in December's issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
Study Probes Public's Willingness to Use Specific Nanoproducts
The largest and most comprehensive survey of public perceptions of nanotechnology products finds that U.S. consumers are willing to use specific nano-containing products - even if there are health and safety risks - when the potential benefits are high. The study also finds that U.S. consumers rate nanotechnology as less risky than everyday technologies like herbicides, chemical disinfectants, handguns and food preservatives.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN), University College London (UCL) and the London Business School, is the largest survey yet conducted on public willingness to use commercial nanotechnology products. It appears in the December issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
"By some estimates, products containing nanotechnology already account for more than $30 billion in annual global sales, but there is concern that the public's fixation with nanotechnology's risks - either real or imaged - will diminish consumers' appetite for products," said lead researcher Steven Currall, a management and entrepreneurship expert who conducted the research while a faculty member at Rice and while at UCL and London Business School, where he currently holds academic appointments. "Measuring public sentiment toward nanotechnology lets us both check the pulse of the industry right now, and chart the growth or erosion of public acceptance in the future."
The research was based on more than 5,500 survey responses. The authors of the article developed the surveys, which were administered by Zogby International. The surveys defined nanotechnology as involving "human-designed materials or machines at extremely small sizes that haveunique chemical, physical, electrical or other properties."
One survey polled consumers about how likely they would be to use four specific, nano-containing products: a drug, skin lotion, automobile tires and refrigerator gas coolant. This is the first large-scale study to experimentally gauge the public's reaction to specific, nano-containing products, and Currall said the use of scenarios about plausible, specific products yielded results that challenge the assumption that the publicfocuses narrowly on risk.
"It was clear that people were thinking about more than risk," he said. "The average consumer is pretty shrewd when it comes to balancing risks against benefits, and we found that the greater the potential benefits, the more risks people are willing to tolerate."
Study co-author Neal Lane, who helped craft the U.S.'s National Nanotechnology Initiative during his tenure as director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, said the public is likely to become more aware of nanotechnology's risks as environmental health and safety research is completed and as nanomaterials find their way into more products. What remains to be seen is whether the public's budding perceptions of the benefits of nanotechnology will also grow, he said.
"We propose that academic bodies like the UK's Royal Society and the US's National Academies set up interagency clearinghouses to coordinate public education and synthesize the latest scientific findings," said Lane, senior fellow in science and technology at Rice's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "Transmitting the latest information about both risks and benefits, in a timely, thorough and transparent way, will minimize the likelihood of apolarized public debate that turns on rumor and supposition."
Currall is Professor of Enterprise and the Management of Innovation in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at UCL and the director of both the Management Studies Centre and the Centre for Enterprise and the Management of Innovation at UCL. He is also Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at London Business School (joint with UCL) and Faculty Co-Director of the School's Institute of Technology.
Lane is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor and professor of physics and astronomy at Rice.
Co-authors include Rice doctoral students Juan Madera and Stacey Turner, and former Rice doctoral student Eden King, now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at George Mason University.
The research was funded by the National Science Foundation through CBEN.
About Rice University
The Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) is a National Science Foundation Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center dedicated to developing sustainable nanotechnologies that improve human health and the environment. Located at Rice University in Houston, CBEN is a leader in ensuring that nanotechnology develops responsibly and with strong public support. For more information visit http://cben.rice.edu.
Rice University is consistently ranked one of America’s best teaching and research universities. It is distinguished by its: size—2,850 undergraduates and 1,950 graduate students; selectivity—10 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources—an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 6-to-1, and the fifth largest endowment per student among American universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work. Rice’s wooded campus is located in the nation’s fourth largest city and on America’s South Coast. For more information visit http://www.rice.edu.
For more information, please click here
CONTACT: Jade Boyd
Copyright © Rice UniversityIf you have a comment, please Contact us.
Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.
|Related News Press|
March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015
PETA science consortium to present at Society for Risk Analysis meeting December 10th, 2014
Abalonyx launches Reduced Graphene Oxide Product: Abalonyx has successfully scaled up production of thermally reduced graphene oxide (rGO) in its Tofte, Norway, production facility. This product is now offered to customers in Kg-quantities May 10th, 2016
New Generation of Graphene Reinforced Carbon Fibre Prepreg Products March 14th, 2016
New Generation of Graphene Reinforced Carbon Fibre Prepreg Products March 10th, 2016
Thomas Swan and NGI announce unique partnership July 28th, 2016
The NanoWizard® AFM from JPK is applied for interdisciplinary research at the University of South Australia for applications including smart wound healing and how plants can protect themselves from toxins July 26th, 2016
New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016
New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016
University of Puerto Rico and NASA back in the news – XEI reports August 23rd, 2016
Nanoparticles that speed blood clotting may someday save lives August 23rd, 2016
Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016
Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016
Call for NanoArt and Art-Science-Technology Papers June 9th, 2016
Are humans the new supercomputer?Today, people of all backgrounds can contribute to solving serious scientific problems by playing computer games. A Danish research group has extended the limits of quantum physics calculations and simultaneously blurred the boundaries between mac April 14th, 2016