Much ado about something nano-sized

The White House patted itself on the back and said that the federal government’s nanotechnology operation was doing a “commendable” job.

pcast1These words did not come from President Obama, but rather were the conclusion of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and 12 leading civilian experts recruited to examine what the White House-run National Nanotechnology Initiative had accomplished since President Clinton created it a decade ago.

I dutifully reported that incestuous praise today on AOL News. It was only appropriate to give the federal nano gurus equal time, since last month I wrote eight stories on what many public health experts saw as dangerous shortcomings in the government’s programs to identify and regulate the safety of these wondrous atomic concoctions.

Here is a link to what I wrote today and another to the series of nano stories AOL posted last month.

The 71-page report by the scientific advisors said that unless the U.S. doubles the billions it’s spending on nano, China, South Korea and the European Union will wipe out America’s commercial edge, among other things.

Needless to say, the federal nano gang at the White House, NNI and elsewhere in the government is not happy with my reporting. They expressed their displeasure at length today in an Op-ed that AOL eagerly ran.

The White House advisors also shared their annoyance by issuing “talking points” to nano folks – in and out of the government – on how to respond to what I wrote.

Sensitive little group isn’t it?

Prof. Andrew Maynard

Prof. Andrew Maynard

Personally, I think the world would be a bit better off if these policy makers focused more on determining whether nanoparticles are harmful or not before they urge everyone to fill the marketplace with them.

And, if all this isn’t enough to bore the hell out of everyone, here are more exciting views on this sparring match from one of the nation’s leading nano-safety proponents – Prof. Andrew Maynard.


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