First of all this is an important set of findings. Despite weaknesses in design the results are potentially explosive especially if they are amplified by some public advocacy groups and the media.
As a former journalist I would advise a journalist covering this set of findings to ask the following four questions.
- 2 women are dead allegedly from inhaling nanoparticles. What assurances are there that a situation like this cannot happen here?
- As globalization accelerates and supply lines cross continents, what assurances can be given that finished products will be sold involving assembly and fabrication such as that which occurred in China?
- Even if efforts are taken to protect worker safety, here and abroad, how effective are hoods and masks in effectively reducing exposure to nanoparticles? How do we know they will be effective?
- Given the uncertainties associated with nanoparticles and their control and toxicity, why should we proceed with nanoparticle production when there are reasonably available substitutes? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to consider moratoria or a much slower pace of development?
As an argumentation specialist, there are two major issues (loci) here. The only way to frame the issue out of the hands of ultra-precautionists is to address both of them.
- The case for worker safety in the NanoWorkplace and
- The case for enforcement of regulations involves global trade involving nanoparticles.