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October 10, 2007

Internet Dialogue on Nanotechnology Focuses on Consumers

Lynn L. Bergeson

On October 23-24, 2007, the Project on Emerging Technologies (PEN), in collaboration with Consumers Union — publisher of Consumer Reports magazine and Consumer Reports Online — will host an online conversation about nanotechnology and consumer products. The event, ConsumersTalkNano, is intended to provide an easily accessible venue for the public to discuss information and share thoughts about the usage and potential benefits and risks of consumer products made with nanomaterials. The dialogue will explore key issues surrounding the ways that the American public, researchers, policymakers, scientific experts, and the media learn about and respond to nanotechnology consumer products. Participants in the dialogue will be able to ask questions of expert panelists, examine the use of nanotechnology in consumer products, discuss who is responsible for oversight, and communicate on needed future actions. PEN plans to use the information gained from the event to inform policymakers about how consumers perceive the use of nanotechnology in products that they can buy in the stores or over the Internet and what consumers think about related risks, benefits, and uncertainties. The ConsumersTalkNano website will host videos, podcasts, and links to information about nanotechnology. Individuals interested in participating in the dialogue should register to receive updates and further details about the dialogue.