Magazine article New Internationalist

Small-but-Scary Symbol Sought

Magazine article New Internationalist

Small-but-Scary Symbol Sought

Article excerpt

Nuclear power, toxic chemicals, electromagnetic radiation: each of these techno-hazards has a universally recognized warning symbol. So why not nanotechnology, invisible to the human eye but more powerful and potentially more dangerous? It used to be that the manipulation of matter at the level of atoms and molecules was the stuff of science fiction. Today, however, there are over 1,000 nanotech companies worldwide, employing the technology to make faster computers; smarter drugs; powerful chemical catalysts (used in petroleum processing) and materials for a wide range of uses. Most governments have not even begun thinking about nano-regulation. Yet invisible nanomaterials are already being used in our food, cosmetics, pesticides and clothing, even though they are not labelled and we do not know what their health and environmental impacts might be. …

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