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November 9th, 2009

Health concerns about nanotechnology are stirring

Companies are especially sensitive to how the public reacts to a new technology. In general, the public doesn't know much about nanoscience, which means any health or safety scare, even an unfounded one, could doom the technology, no matter how promising, experts say. For example, worldwide fears of genetically modified crops, introduced in the 1990s, cost U.S. farmers $100 million in export losses a year, according to the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, despite the lack of evidence biotech foods are unsafe.

"We're aware of that," said Darrel Untereker, Medtronic's vice president of research and technology. "We would be foolish not to realize that perception becomes reality. Unfounded worries will always be troublesome to some industries. But we have to use our heads and listen to the science. We should worry about things that are real."


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