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Are you aware of any international treaties or agreements being developed to control the use or access to Nano Technology?
Question Date: 2006-11-04
Answer 1:

That's a good question. I'm involved in nanotech research, and I know we want to be safe in our research and in nanotech products. The problem is that it's hard to know exactly how each of the many nanoscale particles will affect us. A woman professor at UCSB is investigating safety issues regarding nano-sized quantum dots. The good news is that we've always lived with nanoparticles in us and around us. Proteins and the biological molecules in our bodies are mostly nano-sized, and they've been around since the beginning of life. [Nano-sized things are 1 to 100 nm in one of their dimensions; 1 nm is 1 millionth of a millimeter]. There have also been non-biological nano-sized things around since the beginning of the earth.

But we want to be careful about the new nano-sized things we make. One piece of good news is that we make these new nano-sized things from stuff that is already around. People who study particles in the air are studying nano-particles compare with bigger particles of the same stuff in their effects.

To get an answer to your question, I googled "nanotech safety international". One thing I found is the International Council on Nanotechnology, which is collecting a database with info on all the research papers about environmental, health and safety of nanoscale materials. The British Royal Society of scientists says companies need to tell how they test the safety of nanoparticles in products the companies develop. The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative is doing research and education about the safety of nanotech developments. That's where things are now - we are trying to be sure that the proper tests and experiments are being done on new nano-scale products, but we aren't making treaties, because we have always lived with nano-scale products [natural and synthetic] and we are working to test the safety of new nano-scale products as they are being made.

You can also learn about science from the National Science Foundation - NSF. That's where I am working now, most of the time. Visit us on the web at: NSF

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