19
Jul
2004

Green Goo: The New Nano-Threat

by Daithí Ó hAnluain

02:00 AM Jul. 19, 2004 PT

First it was "gray goo," the threat of self-replicating machines populating the planet. Now an environmental think tank is raising the specter of "green goo," where biology is used to create new materials and new artificial life forms.

In its report, published on July 8, the Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration, or ETC, said that the risks from green goo demand the most urgent foresight and caution. "With nanobiotech, researchers have the power to create completely new organisms that have never existed on Earth," said the ETC release accompanying its report.

t's a new one for some players. "I haven't heard of this concern anywhere else, I mean anywhere else," said Christine Peterson, president of the Foresight Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating the potential benefits and anticipating potential risks of nanotechnology. "I think it's because people are already aware of the issues of biotech. I'm not sure there's an additional issue here."

But even without an apocalyptic vision, many are wary of the threats posed by nanotechnology -- the commercial side to the science of the small. Swiss Re, the world's second largest re-insurance firm -- an insurance company for insurance companies -- warned in a May report that the unknown risks of toxicity or pollution associated with nanoparticles are unacceptable...

//www.wired.com/news/medtech/0,1286,64235,00.html


Informant: Anna Webb
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