More sabre rattling from the the European Parliament who passed a “non binding opinion” with 391 votes in favour and three against, demanding that all nanomaterials should be considered as new substances, and that existing legislation does not take into account the risks associated with nanotechnology.They also demanded that consumer products containing nanomaterials must be labelled ‘nano’.
It’s a repeat of the techniques used by anti technology lobbies and is a very effective strategy that goes something like this:
- Find some evidence that something is dangerous – note that it doesn’t matter if 99.99% of research shows no dangers, parliamentarians are not scientists and it’s unlikely that they will ever check
- Find a few more scientific papers and deliberately misinterpret them in order to back up your agenda
- Use this ‘scientific evidence’ to ‘prove’ that the technology is dangerous – if it turns out you were wrong just ignore any evidence to the contrary and stick to your story
- Once you have sown the idea that a technology is dangerous, call for labelling in an attempt to use public ignorance of science to keep products off the market.
The flaw in this argument is that it only works for things that people might eat or drink, so sticking a “contains nanotech” label on a mobile phone or solar panel won’t have any impact. I sometimes wonder whether groups who try to confuse nanotechnology with GMOs are deliberately trying to confuse the issues to spread fear, or whether they are simply too stupid to tell the difference between various bits of science and spend all day trying to connect their washing machines to the Internet while trying to make phone calls with a plastic chair.