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Poll reveals public awareness of nanotech stuck at low level
Date:9/24/2007

intingly low levels, says David Rejeski, director of the Wilson Centers Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. Efforts to inform the public have not kept pace with the growth of this new technology area. This increases the danger that the slightest bump even a false alarm about safety or health could undermine public confidence, engender consumer mistrust, and, as a result, damage the future of nanotechnology, before the most exciting applications are realized. If they do not effectively engage a broad swath of the public in steering the course of nanotechnology, government and industry risk squandering a tremendous opportunity.

Specific polling questions examined opinions on the safety of our food system as well as the use of nanotechnology in food packaging and products. Over 60 percent of the public feels that the food supply has become less safe in recent years. Of the federal agencies most responsible for food safety, all earn similar public-confidence ratings: 57 percent to 59 percent of adults say they have at least a fair amount of confidence in the agencies ability to maximize benefits and minimize risks stemming from advances in science and technology.

Key findings specific to food and nanotechnology include:

  • Only 7 percent of Americans say they would purchase food enhanced with nanotechnology, while slightly more (12 percent) say they would buy food-storage containers enhanced with nanotechnology.

  • Substantial majorities 62 percent in the case of food and 73 percent in the case of nanotechnology-enhanced food containers say they need more information about health risks and benefits before deciding whether to purchase such products.

  • Adults who have heard a lot about nanotechnology are almost three times more likely to use food storage products enhanced with nanotechnology (31 percent compared to 11 percent), and are two and a half times more likely to use foods enhanced with n
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Contact: Sharon McCarter
sharon.mccarter@wilsoncenter.org
202-691-4016
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies
Source:Eurekalert

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