Unknown Unknowns

More grist to the nanosafety mill. The former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld summed up the conclusions to most of these reports which give an overview of annotechnology and then call for moe reserach with his famopus phrase “there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don’t know we don’t know. “

A new report by former EPA official Mark Greenwood, Thinking Big About Things Small: Creating An Effective Oversight System For Nanotechnology urges policymakers to focus more attention on how core assumptions about risk assessment and risk management that underlie existing health and environmental regulations will translate from the macro world to the nano world. It also emphasizes that how the government ultimately oversees nanotechnology will have major impacts on business strategies, intellectual property, and the evolving structure of the industry. It argues that these issues should be discussed now, in the early stages of commercialization, rather than later.

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