Economics and governance of nanomaterials: potential and risks

Gian Carlo Delgado
Technology in Society Vol. 32 No. 2. 2010.
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The ability to manipulate matter at the nano-scale promises to unleash enormous potential for diverse applications and innovations ranging from new materials for textiles, packaging, and food, to sophisticated medical procedures and treatments. The possibilities of nanomaterials also bring important economic potential. Both public and private funding have increased exponentially, as well as the number of patents, and market quotas. Nanotechnology also carries with it major concerns, such as safety and whether or not it will be accepted by society. This paper analyzes the main economic indicators of nanotechnology, and assesses relevant safety concerns and proposals for accountability and management of nanomaterials today.

Keywords: Nanomaterials; Nanotechnology; Nanotoxicology; Post-normal science; Risk; Standardization; Uncertainty

Article Outline
1. Introduction
1.1. Costs and funding
1.2. Patents
1.3. Market value
2. Roles and responsibilities
3. Risks and safety concerns
4. Setting standards
5. Conclusion

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