Nanotechnology: the new asbestos or the new plastic?
A new report on insurance for nanotechnology applications looks at nanotech risks across industries and details how they may be handled.
"As with practically all scientific breakthroughs, nanotechnology carries both risks and rewards. While it appears almost certain that the rewards will greatly outweigh the risks, attention must be paid to possible dangers to the well-being of humans from this new technology."
. . . to the specific:
"Insurance cover for nanotechnology products are expected to evolve in three stages:
1. An early study period, currently underway, where insurers and reinsurers study the issue.
2. The fear phase, frequently accentuated by unfounded but terrifying rumors. This stage is expected to be short, given the generally benign nature of nanotechnology products.
3. The mature phase, where cover routinely is provided either within conventional products or on a standalone basis."
I sometimes feel like we're already in phase two. A few other valuable insights from the report:
"Existing regulations may prove to be grossly inadequate in providing a safe environment in a world of nanotechnology products.
Detection tools for the routine checking of toxins are not adequate to address the smallness of nano-sized matter.
Nanotechnology carries a great promise for improved economic and social well-being. Given sensible management of the risk by governments and the insurance industry, this new scientific advancement can add greatly to the progress of humanity."
And regarding my headline, yes, I know asbestos and plastic are materials, not technologies; I'm just following the lead of the report's title.