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November 2nd, 2009
Nanotechnology: A risky frontier?
Nanotechnology already has found hundreds of high-tech uses. But do its tiny particles pose big health risks? That uncertainty, and companies' reluctance to embrace the field, cloud its future.
Despite decades of research, federal regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration, are still struggling to define and identify nanotechnologies, let alone determine if they cause cancer or genetic mutation. Without clear scientific and legal guidance, some companies are hesitant to fully embrace nanotechnology, mindful of the billions of dollars in jury awards and cleanup costs associated with asbestos and pesticides. Insurance companies like Travelers Companies Inc. in St. Paul also wonder whether they should underwrite companies using nanotechnologies.
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