Better Safe than Sorry

Consumer Perceptions of and Deliberations on Nanotechnologies

Lucia Reisch, Gerd Scholl, Sabine Bietz

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    Abstract

    Although nanotechnologies are considered key technologies that can drive growth-generating innovations in well-saturated markets, worldwide investment in nanotechnologies has to date focused largely on technology-related development programmes and little effort has been expended to research associated risks. As a result, even though prior discourses have sensitized western consumers to potential health-related dangers, solid knowledge on, for example, the toxicological and eco-toxicological risks and unintended side effects of nanotechnology are scarce. This paper therefore presents an overview of the current evidence on consumer knowledge and perceptions of nanotechnology and public engagement with it, with a focus on the US, the UK and Germany. Overall, even though survey data suggest that awareness of the term ‘nanotechnology’ has risen slightly, today's consumers are generally ill informed about its nature and its applications in consumer-related products. Hence, based on our analysis of these data, we argue that early political engagement in the nanotechnology issue – for example, consumer policy options that support consumer interest in the marketing of ‘nanos’– would facilitate objective public discourse.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
    Volume35
    Issue number6
    Pages (from-to)644-654
    ISSN1470-6423
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Cite this

    @article{d01346d74315472d90cbfe54b3965249,
    title = "Better Safe than Sorry: Consumer Perceptions of and Deliberations on Nanotechnologies",
    abstract = "Although nanotechnologies are considered key technologies that can drive growth-generating innovations in well-saturated markets, worldwide investment in nanotechnologies has to date focused largely on technology-related development programmes and little effort has been expended to research associated risks. As a result, even though prior discourses have sensitized western consumers to potential health-related dangers, solid knowledge on, for example, the toxicological and eco-toxicological risks and unintended side effects of nanotechnology are scarce. This paper therefore presents an overview of the current evidence on consumer knowledge and perceptions of nanotechnology and public engagement with it, with a focus on the US, the UK and Germany. Overall, even though survey data suggest that awareness of the term ‘nanotechnology’ has risen slightly, today's consumers are generally ill informed about its nature and its applications in consumer-related products. Hence, based on our analysis of these data, we argue that early political engagement in the nanotechnology issue – for example, consumer policy options that support consumer interest in the marketing of ‘nanos’– would facilitate objective public discourse.",
    keywords = "Nanotechnology, deliberative processes, risk discourse, consumer perception, consumer policy",
    author = "Lucia Reisch and Gerd Scholl and Sabine Bietz",
    year = "2011",
    doi = "10.1111/j.1470-6431.2010.00979.x",
    language = "English",
    volume = "35",
    pages = "644--654",
    journal = "International Journal of Consumer Studies",
    issn = "1470-6423",
    publisher = "Blackwell Publishing",
    number = "6",

    }

    Better Safe than Sorry : Consumer Perceptions of and Deliberations on Nanotechnologies. / Reisch, Lucia; Scholl, Gerd; Bietz, Sabine.

    In: International Journal of Consumer Studies, Vol. 35, No. 6, 2011, p. 644-654.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Better Safe than Sorry

    T2 - Consumer Perceptions of and Deliberations on Nanotechnologies

    AU - Reisch, Lucia

    AU - Scholl, Gerd

    AU - Bietz, Sabine

    PY - 2011

    Y1 - 2011

    N2 - Although nanotechnologies are considered key technologies that can drive growth-generating innovations in well-saturated markets, worldwide investment in nanotechnologies has to date focused largely on technology-related development programmes and little effort has been expended to research associated risks. As a result, even though prior discourses have sensitized western consumers to potential health-related dangers, solid knowledge on, for example, the toxicological and eco-toxicological risks and unintended side effects of nanotechnology are scarce. This paper therefore presents an overview of the current evidence on consumer knowledge and perceptions of nanotechnology and public engagement with it, with a focus on the US, the UK and Germany. Overall, even though survey data suggest that awareness of the term ‘nanotechnology’ has risen slightly, today's consumers are generally ill informed about its nature and its applications in consumer-related products. Hence, based on our analysis of these data, we argue that early political engagement in the nanotechnology issue – for example, consumer policy options that support consumer interest in the marketing of ‘nanos’– would facilitate objective public discourse.

    AB - Although nanotechnologies are considered key technologies that can drive growth-generating innovations in well-saturated markets, worldwide investment in nanotechnologies has to date focused largely on technology-related development programmes and little effort has been expended to research associated risks. As a result, even though prior discourses have sensitized western consumers to potential health-related dangers, solid knowledge on, for example, the toxicological and eco-toxicological risks and unintended side effects of nanotechnology are scarce. This paper therefore presents an overview of the current evidence on consumer knowledge and perceptions of nanotechnology and public engagement with it, with a focus on the US, the UK and Germany. Overall, even though survey data suggest that awareness of the term ‘nanotechnology’ has risen slightly, today's consumers are generally ill informed about its nature and its applications in consumer-related products. Hence, based on our analysis of these data, we argue that early political engagement in the nanotechnology issue – for example, consumer policy options that support consumer interest in the marketing of ‘nanos’– would facilitate objective public discourse.

    KW - Nanotechnology

    KW - deliberative processes

    KW - risk discourse

    KW - consumer perception

    KW - consumer policy

    U2 - 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2010.00979.x

    DO - 10.1111/j.1470-6431.2010.00979.x

    M3 - Journal article

    VL - 35

    SP - 644

    EP - 654

    JO - International Journal of Consumer Studies

    JF - International Journal of Consumer Studies

    SN - 1470-6423

    IS - 6

    ER -