Public Perceptions of Nanotechnology and Trust in Government - Appendix Of Raw Survey Data

Topics Covered

Background

Data Tables

Initial Knowledge of Nanotechnology

Knowledge Re “Next Industrial Revolution”

Sources Of Knowledge On Nanotechnology

Attitudes In Pre and Post-Test

Expectations: Will Benefits Exceed Risks?

Should Nanotechnology Products Be Banned Until Further Study?

Trust In Regulatory Agencies and Political Entities

Post-Test Summary Percentages, Trust in Regulatory Agencies and Political Entities

Can Industry Self-Regulation Be Sufficient?

Preferred Ways Government Could Increase Public Trust

Preferred Ways Industry Could Increase Public Trust

Background

In just a few short years, nanotechnology has catapulted from being a specialty of a few physicists and chemists to a worldwide scientific and industrial enterprise. But little is known about the technology’s possible health and environmental implications.

At this critical juncture, it is important that leaders from industry, government, the science and engineering community, and other sectors develop a better understanding of what the public wants and expects in terms of the oversight of these new and emerging technologies.

This article contains raw survey data extracted from a report, “Informed Public Perceptions of Nanotechnology and Trust in Government,” that provides an in-depth look at what Americans know and do not know about nanotechnology. It offers a view of the nano applications and products people think are most important. It examines who Americans trust most to manage nanotechnology’s potential risks. And it highlights what particular concerns citizens may have about nanotechnology’s use.

Data Tables

Initial Knowledge of Nanotechnology

Table 1. Initial Knowledge of Nanotechnology

How Much Would You Say You Know About Technology?

Pre-Test

A Lot

2.8

Some

16.9

A Little

26.0

Nothing

54.2

Total

100

Knowledge Re “Next Industrial Revolution”

Table 2. Knowledge Re “Next Industrial Revolution”

“Nanotechnology is predicted to be the next industrial revolution”

Pre-Test

True

24.3

Don’t Know

75.1

Not True

0.6

Total

100

Sources Of Knowledge On Nanotechnology

Table 3. Sources Of Knowledge On Nanotechnology

 

All Sources

Info From 1 Source

Info From 2 Sources

Info From 3 Sources

Ads

2.9

4.1

 

3.6

Children’s TV

2.9

2.0

5.6

2.4

Specials Public TV or Radio

17.6

22.4

11.1

17.9

Commercial TV or Radio News

11.2

14.3

5.6

11.9

Magazines

17.1

8.2

27.8

17.9

Newspaper Articles

10.0

8.2

8.3

11.9

Trade or Professional Journals

8.2

6.1

11.1

8.3

Science Fiction Books or Stories

12.4

10.2

13.9

13.1

Talk With Another Person

16.5

20.4

16.7

13.1

Internet

0.6

2.0

 

 

School

0.6

2.0

 

 

Total

100

100

100

100

Note. Respondents were allowed to identify all relevant sources of learning about nanotechnology. The frequency with which each source type was mentioned is classified above in relation to three classes of informed respondents.

Attitudes In Pre and Post-Test

Table 4. Attitudes In Pre and Post-Test

 

Pre-Study

Post-Test

Quite Positive

7.9

9.6

Mostly Positive

13.0

40.1

Neutral

37.9

32.2

Mostly Negative

0.6

9.6

Don’t Know

40.7

2.8

Missing Data

 

0.6

Total

100

97.7

Significant change: Pearson Chi-Square=84.092, df = 24, p = .000

Expectations: Will Benefits Exceed Risks?

Table 5. Expectations: Will Benefits Exceed Risks?

 

Pre-Study

Post-Test

Benefits Will Exceed Risks

15.8

40.7

Risks Will Exceed Benefits

5.1

15.3

Risks & Benefits Equal

13.6

29.9

Don’t Know

65

14.1

Total

100

100

Should Nanotechnology Products Be Banned Until Further Study?

Table 6. Should Nanotechnology Products Be Banned Until Further Study?

 

Pre-Study

Post-Test

Agree To Total Ban

6.2

8.5

Ban Is Overreacting

35.6

75.7

Don’t Know

57.1

15.8

Missing Data

0.1

 

Total

100

100

Trust In Regulatory Agencies and Political Entities

Table 7. Trust In Regulatory Agencies and Political Entities, Pre and Post-Test

%

CDC

EPA

CPSC

OSHA

FDA

USDA

White
House

Congress

Strongly Agree

9.6

7.9

6.8

6.2

6.8

6.8

5.6

7.3

 

(9.6)

(6.2)

(6.2)

(9.0)

(6.2)

(6.2)

(4.5)

(2.8)

Agree

29.4

23.2

29.4

30.5

24.3

23.7

23.2

18.1

 

(40.1)

(39.0)

(40.1)

(36.7)

(36.7)

(32.8)

(26.6)

(23.7)

Don’t Know

42.4

41.8

43.5

40.1

42.4

45.8

32.8

35.0

 

(14.1)

(14.1)

(15.3)

(14.0)

(13.0)

(16.4)

(12.4)

(10.2)

Disagree

14.7

19.8

15.3

19.2

19.8

18.1

26.0

27.1

 

(27.1)

(29.4)

(27.7)

(29.9)

(32.8)

(33.3)

(34.5)

(41.2)

Strongly Disagree

3.4

6.8

4.5

3.4

6.2

5.1

11.9

12.4

 

(9.0)

(10.2)

(9.6)

(10.2)

(11.3)

(11.3)

(21.5)

(21.5)

Missing Data

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.6

0.6

 

(0)

(1.2)

(1.2)

(0)

(0)

(0)

(0.6)

(0.6)

Total

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

100

Note. Pre-test percentages are given first in each column; directly below are percentages of the post-test answers, in brackets (FDA 6.8% strongly agree in pre-test, 6.2%, etc.).

Post-Test Summary Percentages, Trust in Regulatory Agencies and Political Entities

Table 8. Post-Test Summary Percentages, Trust in Regulatory Agencies and Political Entities

%

CDC

EPA

CPSC

OSHA

FDA

USDA

White
House

Congress

Strongly Agree or Agree

50

46

46

46

43

39

31

27

Don’t Know

14

14

15

14

13

16

12

10

Disagree or Strongly Disagree

36

39

38

40

44

45

56

63

Total

100

99

99

100

100

100

99

100

All percentages are rounded. *The designated percentages do not round to 100 due to a higher percentage of missing data for that entity.

Can Industry Self-Regulation Be Sufficient?

Table 9. Can Industry Self-Regulation Be Sufficient?

Answer Choices

% Agreement

I feel government control beyond voluntary standards is necessary

55.4

Not sure

32.8

I feel voluntary standards would be adequate

10.7

Missing Data

1.1

Total

100

Note. This was a post-test question only, assuming that only an informed public could give a useful answer to the question.

Preferred Ways Government Could Increase Public Trust

Table 10. Preferred Ways Government Could Increase Public Trust

 

%

Increase safety tests before market

34.5

Supply more product information so people can choose

24.9

Show how regulatory practices are sufficient

11.9

Track better the product risks in market

9.6

Allow industry to be more self regulating

8.5

No top choice (multiple answers)

3.4

Other (write in answers)

3.4

Nothing needs to be done

2.3

Be more hands off in regulating industry

1.7

Total

100

Note. The same answer choices were available for both industry and government, with the exception of the “hands off” answer; the opportunity to write in any other answers was also available in both cases.

Preferred Ways Industry Could Increase Public Trust

Table 11. Preferred Ways Industry Could Increase Public Trust

 

%

Increase safety tests before market

28.2

Supply more product information so people can choose

28.2

Voluntarily use higher safety standards

19.2

Track risks in market better

13.0

Show how current reg practices are sufficient

6.8

Nothing needs to be done

1.7

Missing data

1.7

Other (write in answers)

1.1

Total

100

Note. The same answer choices were available for both industry and government, with the exception of the “hands off” answer shown in Table 10; the opportunity to write in any other answers was also available in both cases.

Primary author: Jane Macoubrie

Source: “Informed Public Perceptions of Nanotechnology and Trust in Government” report. Please see original report for reference sources.

For more information on this source please visit Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Date Added: Sep 11, 2005 | Updated: Jun 11, 2013
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