A recent European survey of 375 lay people and 46 nanotechnology experts founds that lay people in Germany and Switzerland perceive nanotechnology poses a greater risk than experts believe. The authors conclude from the survey “experts might not be inclined to initiate the risk assessments that are expected by the public.”
In a second survey conducted by the same scientists, Sixty-five percent of responding companies admitted they perform no risk assessment “where nanoparticulate materials are involved.” Just over thirty-to percent answered the same question affirmatively.
The authors contrasted the lack of industry risk assessment found in the second survey with the public concern found in the first survey and concluded that experts and the industry must guard against a “preventable event with significant negative consequences” involving nanotechnology in order to maintain public trust. The authors advocated voluntary initiative and regulations to protect against such an event.
M. Siegrist, et al., “Correspondence, Risks and Nanotechnology: the public is more concerned than experts and industry,” Nature Nanotechnology, February 2007.