Nanotechnology steams into choppy seas

Nanotechnology will provide one of the next major tests of whether governments and private and public institutions have learned lessons from the controversies over GM crops and foods. The omens so far are poor: funding for research into the health and environmental implications of nanotechnology has been all but invisible, and officialdom has resorted all too readily to simplistic assurances about nanotechnology's safety. In the UK, a report by the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering has sought to chart an easier course for nanotechnology from research laboratory to market while safeguarding the public interest. But do its prescriptions on regulation and novel processes of "upstream engagement" with the public go far enough?

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