What drives public acceptance of nanotechnology?

The results of the first large-scale empirical study of how consumers view the risks and benefits of nanotechnology are reported in the December issue of Nature Nanotechnology.


This press release is copyrighted to Nature Nanotechnology.

[1] What drives public acceptance of nanotechnology?

DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2006.155

The results of the first large-scale empirical study of how consumers view the risks and benefits of nanotechnology are reported in the December issue of Nature Nanotechnology. It is widely accepted in the nanotechnology community that better communication with decision-makers and consumers is essential if nanotechnology is not to become the “new GMO”.

Based on a telephone survey of 503 members of the public in the USA, Steven Currall and co-workers conclude that nanotechnology is viewed as relatively neutral, being perceived as less risky and more beneficial than a number of other technologies such as GMO, pesticides, chemical disinfectants and human genetic engineering. However, it is also seen as more risky and less beneficial than solar power, vaccinations, hydroelectric power and computer display screens.

In an additional web-based survey of 4542 likely consumers, Currall and co-workers also find that the public does not consider the risks and benefits of nanotechnology independently: rather, the effect of benefits on the likely use of a nano-based product is more pronounced when the risks are lower.

Author Contact:

Steven Currall (University College London & London Business School, UK)
Tel: +44 771 099 8974; E-mail: [email protected]
The author is in the USA but their mobile should still be working.

Please note that a conference is being held at the Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC, USA on Tuesday December 5 2006 at 14.30 US EST.

This conference is being webcast live at http://www.wilsoncenter.org/nano. For more details contact Sharon McCarter. Tel: +1 202 691 4016; E-mail: [email protected]

Other papers from Nature Nanotechnology to be published online at the same time and with the same embargo:

[2] Controlled buckling of semiconductor nanoribbons for stretchable electronics
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2006.131

[3] Controlled patterning of aligned self-assembled peptide nanotubes
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2006.139

[4] Mesoscopic Josephson junctions employing Si/Ge heterostructure nanowires
DOI: 10.1038/nnano.2006.140


Ruth Francis, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4562; E-mail [email protected]

Katherine Anderson, Nature London
Tel: +44 20 7843 4502; E-mail: [email protected]

For media inquiries relating to editorial content/policy for Nature Nanotechnology, please contact the journal directly:

Peter Rodgers, Nature Nanotechnology (London)
Tel: +44 20 7014 4019; Email: [email protected]

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Published: 05 Dec 2006

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