Nano Archive

Environmental and health implications of nanotechnology - Have innovators learned the lessons from past experiences?

Koehler, Andreas R. and Som, Claudia (2008) Environmental and health implications of nanotechnology - Have innovators learned the lessons from past experiences? HUMAN AND ECOLOGICAL RISK ASSESSMENT, 14 (3). pp. 512-531.

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Abstract

Nanotechnology (NT) is expected to bring about novel technological designs and materials resulting in a wide spectrum of applications. Experience gained from past innovations shows that new technologies are often accompanied by undesired side-effects. If such side-effects are neglected or underestimated, they may result in damage. In this article we examine whether innovators, the pioneers of technological advance in nanotechnology, are aware of the lessons that can be learned from adverse effects that have occurred in connection with several past innovations. Based on the results of a survey taken among innovators we discuss what consequences the innovators draw for the present innovation process and which priorities they set when dealing with environmental and health risks of nanotechnology. Results suggest that innovators may be not very sensitive to early scientific warnings regarding risks of nanotechnology. The innovators are confident that risks are assessable and manageable on a ``business as usual'' basis. They consider lacking public acceptance as a potential hurdle for innovation and many innovators are afraid of a backlash. Nevertheless, they seldom engage in risk communication or stakeholder dialogue. Picking up recommendations voiced by the innovators interviewed, we sketch some possible approaches as to how innovators could tackle the potential risks of nanotechnology in a proactive manner.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:environment; health; innovation; lessons learned; nanotechnology; risk assessment; risk communication; technological risk
Subjects:NanoSafety > Environment, health and safety aspects of nanotechnology
ID Code:740
Deposited By:SPI
Deposited On:06 Jul 2009 16:23
Last Modified:06 Jul 2009 16:23

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