Opinion on nanotechnology: Risk, benefits, and regulation

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A survey of American (US) nanotechnology researchers (N = 177) suggests a diversity of views about what areas are most important to the burgeoning field, as well as perceptions about the overall benefits and risks of such research. On average, respondents saw a range of technologies as key and viewed public health and environmental issues as areas where both risks and the need for regulation are greatest. These areas were also where respondents said current regulations were least adequate. Factor analyses of the survey questions suggest that, when considering both risks and regulations, respondents make a distinction between health and environmental risks, and what might be termed “social risks” (e.g., invasion of privacy, use of nanotechnology in weapons, and economic impacts).


Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Policy History, Theory, and Methods | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Science and Technology Policy | Science and Technology Studies | Social Policy