July 12, 2004 – Two prominent voices for caution and regulation within nanotechnology have published new calls for action.
The U.K.-based Independent newspaper on Sunday published an essay by Prince Charles, who seeks greater examination of the impact of nanotech on ethics, society and the environment.
Charles, who last year called on the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering to help him weigh the risks of the field, said broader public acceptance will only come “if public attitudes and regulatory processes are encouraged to develop at the same rate as the technology itself.”
The article expressed concerns about the control and ownership of nanotechnologies, and whether there is a danger of “awarding patents on nature.” It also raised questions about nanotech displacing existing technologies, and if that will widen the existing disparities between the rich and poor.
The ETC Group came to similar conclusions in its latest communiqué. The Canadian social advocacy group’s report pushes for the creation of a new international body to track, evaluate and accept or reject new technologies and their products.
Since 2002, ETC has called for a moratorium on nanoparticle research and commercialization until governments adopt “best practices” for research.