Thursday, July 26, 2007

FDA: No nano labeling

By Kim Dixon

Wednesday, July 25, 2007; 3:37 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said the rising number of cosmetics, drugs and other products made using nanotechnology do not require special regulations or labeling.

The recommendations come as the agency looks at the oversight of products that employ the design and use of particles as small as one-billionth of a meter. There are fears by consumer groups and others that these tiny particles are unpredictable, could be toxic and therefore have unforeseen health impacts.

(Click here for the full story.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

NEWS RELEASE: EPA Invites Public Comment on Design of Nanotechnology Stewardship Program

"News Brief:
For Release: (Washington, D.C. – Wednesday, July 11, 2007)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

In its continuing efforts to better understand the potential risks and benefits of nanotechnology, EPA is inviting the public to comment on the agency's proposed approach to developing a Nanoscale Materials Stewardship Program (NMSP). EPA's approach will increase the scientific understanding and ensure appropriate oversight of nanoscale industrial chemicals to facilitate the responsible development of this growing technology."

(Click here for the full release.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Mooney on science issue cycles and tipping points ...

Chris Mooney wrote about science issue cycles in the Huffington Post today, and about the reasons for global warming finally hitting mainstream media in a way that systematically captured public attention:
"2005 saw several key developments, including a focus on global warming at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles, a record temperature year globally, and most of all, Hurricane Katrina. The latter sparked unprecedented levels of discussion of the relationship between global warming and hurricanes in particular. ...

There can be little doubt, then, that rising levels of media coverage of global warming over the past several years have helped the issue reach an apparent tipping point. Yet we can't simply point to the total volume of attention -- we must also consider the content of press coverage over time. Several seeming shifts in the narratives that journalists have been telling may have further contributed to progress on the issue

(Click here for the full article.)

The idea of issue cycles, of course, is directly relevant to the debates surrounding nanotech. Why and when will nano go mainstream? And why does it matter? The answer, of course, is much more complex than the naive speculations among some scientists about "Prey" and its potential impact on the public. And the simplistic comparisons between a potential movie version of "Prey" and "An Inconvenient Truth" make little sense, based on what we know from decades of media effects research.

As Mooney outlines nicely, "An Inconvenient Truth" was just one of a myriad of interrelated factors that helped put global warming on the public agenda. And its impact was largely indirect and contingent on the media coverage triggered by pseudo events, such as the Oscar the film won and its unlikely commercial success at the box office. Matt Nisbet also discussed some of the parallel dynamics for nanotech over at Framing Science last week.

The Huffington Post piece, of course, is also part of the events surrounding the release of Mooney's new book Storm World. I haven't had a chance to look at the book yet, but I know Mooney's previous work, and if anything he is an excellent journalist. I am sure Storm Wars will just provide more evidence of that. I will keep you posted.

Need nano bling?

Now there's nano Bling™. And it's an environmentally safe bio-cleaner. At least according to the Australian manufacturer's web site. And the marketing strategy surrounding nano Bling™ is just one more example of the "nano is nature" frame that most nano businesses in Europe and Asia seem to be relying on as they target markets that often approach new technologies very cautiously.

And as I have argued before, nano businesses -- at least in Europe -- don't just have to deal with concerns about nanotechnology itself, but also with people's lingering concerns about the chemical spills of the 1980s and 1990s, about nuclear energy and fallout from Chernobyl, and about the debates surrounding ag biotech.

Along those lines, the Bling™ marketing materials are all about protecting the environment and natural resources, with little emphasis on the nano science behind it:
"Glass Bling™ instantly repels water, Ice , Oil, Dirt And Bugs anything that come into contact your windsreen or glass/tiled surface. The surface is protected and water will bead and run off on impact! It’s easier to keep your windscreen clean, driving becomes safer, because visibility is significantly improved. You will love it!
Bling™ your ride today!

* Environment
* Water
* Your time
* Your Money
You need Bling™ in your life!"

On a side note, this news item came from Green Technology Forum (GTF) where former blogger George Elvin writes on business-related news about nanotech and biotech:
"Green Technology Forum is a research and advising firm focusing on nanotechnology and biotechnology for growing green businesses. By helping businesspeople understand the benefits and challenges of these revolutionary technologies, we help them develop strategies, products and services that benefit their customers, the environment, and their bottom line."