Nanotechnology: A risky frontier?

  • Article by: THOMAS LEE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 2, 2009 - 4:51 PM

Nanotechnology already has found hundreds of high-tech uses. But do its tiny particles pose big health risks? That uncertainty, and companies' reluctance to embrace the field, cloud its future.

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bumswrapNov. 1, 09 8:00 PM

If government and industry are unwilling to fully investigate and properly regulate this new frontier, then trial lawyers will do as they have always done in such circumstances, protect consumers and the public by filing law suits and winning big damages. They and civil juries are the last line of defense against industry and capitalism run amok. They have defended the public before and stand ready to do so again, if necessary.

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wbgleasonNov. 1, 09 8:47 PM

Materials, when finely enough divided, have different properties than when in bulk. Titanium dioxide was mentioned. This stuff is one of the major ingredients in house paint! So it is not surprising that materials in this category are going to be very difficult to characterize and test for safety. Nevertheless, nanotechnology is of great importance and new materials with incredible properties have and will be developed. It is important that the FDA or some other credible government agency get involved in the safety aspects of nanotechnology to protect the public. But total prohibition would be a very bad mistake.

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sydney123Nov. 2, 09 7:10 AM

I hope we arent taking this too seriously. I get nervous everytime I hear "In Minnesota, a coalition of top business, academic and political leaders is working" towards anything. Translated, publically funded boondoggle. If the private sector cant support it or invest in it, dont do it. We arent in a position to fund anything like this in Minnesota with the public's money. Who is pushing this anyway?

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twinman55Nov. 2, 09 7:15 AM

This is just another example of why the U.S is becoming a second rate economy. The Asians and eastern Europeans are eating this up. The U.S USED to be the place of creativity and innovation. More and more, it's where good ideas and technology go to die waiting for government permission.

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lothlornNov. 2, 09 7:44 AM

Only one word come to mind. WEIRD.

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katiuszaNov. 2, 09 9:55 AM

Couldn't get past the caption on the image. If you look at the scale line, the particle in the center is approximately 50 microns across. Not nanoscale. Start again...

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paucasNov. 2, 0912:27 PM

who funds NASA?--the government. who funded the incipient Internet?--the government. who funds the military?--the government. who funded the moon landing?--the government. who funded the application of nuclear power for power generation?--the government. who says private and public money can't create innovation? People who don't know better.

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paulskiNov. 2, 09 1:07 PM

lets take the comment by paucas one step farther. the article states "If we don't do it, we're going to be left behind because the rest of the world is really pushing it." How do you think the rest of the world pushes it? With their government funding. Look at airbus. if they were privately funded Boeing would reign supreme. But the european governments pay the bill.

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bekahJNov. 2, 09 2:32 PM

When America was a leader in technology and foward thinking, but now we are paralyzed by fear of the uknown. We fear, most of all, independent thought and ideas. We live in a country that stands still and watches other countries surpass us and we continue to wonder why we outsource jobs to other countries who are more eager to face the "risky frontiers" for a better future. It wasn't too long ago that the World Wide Web was a risky frontier, but it has changed the landscape of life forever. Time to embrace the risk, and if we fail, at least we can say to the generations that behind us, we tried.

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sydney123Nov. 3, 0910:50 AM

Who will pay? If your asking the state to pick up a $ 100 million facility, exactly what are you willing to cut to offest this?

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