Saturday, July 03, 2010

PEN nano consumer product inventory under fire?

Nanotechnology Law & Business today published an online-first version of an interesting piece by David Berube and his colleagues at North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) Public Communication of Science and Technology project (PCOST). The article takes a critical look at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) consumer product inventory. The inventory has been used widely as a gauge of the number and types of nano consumer products currently on the U.S. market.

The NC State team analyzed the products listed in the inventory based on
"product name, company, product category, country of origin, availability (is the product available for purchase), countries where the product may be available, what elemental type of nanotechnology was employed or constituted in the product (e. g., carbon, gold, silver, iron, etc.), distribution channel, whether the source link was functional (source link is a term used by the CPI to indicate reference and it was often redundant with the product website), whether the product website was functional, whether it utilized nanotechnology (determined against claims from the website or source site), and if it was included on EC21 ..., a business to business (B2B) product listing website."
 Based on their analyses, the authors conclude

"that the CPI is not wholly reliable, and does not have sufficient validity to justify its prominence as evidence for claims associated with the pervasiveness of nanotechnology on the U.S. and global markets. In addition, we caution researchers to approach the CPI with care and due consideration because using the CPI as a rhetorical flourish to amplify concerns about market intrusions seems unjustified."
Click here for a PDF of the full article.