Dr. Scott Rickert, President of the nanotechnology company Nanofilm, recently took the media to task for sensationalist stories on nanotechnology and the environment. In Taking the Nanopulse, his monthly column for IndustryWeek.com, Dr. Rickert cited news stories linking the lung problems of Chinese factory workers to spray paints infused with nanoparticles. Early reports were later countered with information about working conditions far below the safety standards in the United States, including lack of basic respiration protection.
Dr. Rickert comments, “These women worked in an 8’ x 10’ room with no windows and a door that was kept closed during the five months just prior to their illness. The sprayer’s vent was broken and accumulated dust particles were evident in the exhaust vent.” He added, “…when you get all the information, you’ll see that nanotechnology may be the least of the problems.”
Dr. Rickert also reminds reader that nanotechnology research is a priority for U.S. leaders. “Continuous research on the topic is being done, funded by the likes of the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, the Departments of Energy and the Department of Defense,” he says.
Dr. Rickert concludes, “So, let’s drop the scare tactics and get on with writing the next chapter in the nano-story. Nanotechnology is revolutionizing the world around us -- energy, transportation, medicine, electronics.”
The full column can be read at the Nanofilm website or IndustryWeek.com
Nanofilm, co-founded by Dr. Rickert in 1985, makes performance-enhanced nanofilms, nanocomposite films and surface care for the optical, transportation, energy, sports and other markets. A frequent speaker at nanotechnology conferences, he most recently addressed the Nanotech Business Summit in Cairo, Egypt, in December, 2009, on the topic “Nano-izing Today's Surfaces to Solve Energy, Environmental, And Waste Problems.” Nanofilm is a privately held company with headquarters in Valley View, Ohio, near Cleveland.