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Arsenic contaminated tube well (ZUMA Press)

Could nanotechnology provide a solution to Bangladesh’s groundwater arsenic contamination?  A new nanomaterial made from magnetite and graphene has been used to remove arsenic from drinking water.  Once the hybrid material absorbs the arsenic, it can be separated from water using handheld magnets or filters.  However, disposing of the nanoparticles safely to prevent them from entering the environment or being ingested is a problem.  While the technology has been deemed ‘low-cost’, certainly a must for developing countries like Bangladesh, the question of further risks associated with any new technology needs to be accounted for, including how people in Bangladesh will interact with it if it is implemented. Read more

Uncertainty surrounding technology and risk is something we live with everyday, but rarely question in society.  I talked to Professor Phil Macnaghten and Dr Matthew Kearnes about their research in how people outside of the scientific community understand nanotechnology in particular.  I think social research in this area is something that has large implications for how we will deal with new hazards and risks posed by technology in the present and future, not to mention for understanding the mistakes of the past.

Download ‘Telling stories about nanotechnology’

How do we understand the potential benefits, impacts and risks of nanotechnology?  Last year researchers with the DEEPEN (Deepening Ethical Engagement and Participation in Emerging Nanotechnologies) project at IHRR, brought together some members of the public, policy makers, scientists and industrialists to discuss where should nanotechnology go next? and who should be involved in directing its development?  The video below is an example of some of the materials produced from this project.  Also, check out the links below for other outputs from the DEEPEN project, especially their final report:

Outputs from the DEEPEN Project

Reconfiguring Responsibility: Deepening Debate on Nanotechnology (DEEPEN Final Report)

Hazard Risk Resilience Magazine Issue 2 Out Now!

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