Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Risk perceptions starting to shift? U.S. citizens are forming opinions about nanotechnology

Priest, Susanna

Journal Information:
Journal of Nanoparticle Research
Vol. 12, Num. 1


This article deals with the change in risk perceptions amongst the public in relation to nanotechnology experts over a relatively short period of time. While an initial comparison of layperson and scientist found that they had remarkably similar ideas about the inherent risks and benefits of nanotechnology toward society, the authors found that, in a follow-up survey, the citizens became more concerned about a variety of what we term societal risks such as economic, distributional, and privacy issues than about health or environmental risks. This suggests to them that the general public may be getting more informed about nanotechnology and, without the expert perspective that scientists would enjoy, are far more concerned about regulation than those who actually work with nanotechnology. While the authors recognize the limitations of their survey and methods, they find interesting the idea that increased awareness would bring about increased anxiety about the risks of nanotechnology.