Thursday, March 25, 2010

We have to learn to aim before we shoot

It's a common failing among humans.  We have an idea and jump to act before we think through the consequences.  Nanotechnology presents us with the latest example.  It seems that the most common chemical compound used in nanotechnology is highly poisonous.  Oops!

The problem is nano-titanium dioxide (NTD).  Get ready to hear all about this.  The lawsuits will probably start soon, since this has hit the mainstream media now.  But this looks like it could be the next asbestos.  Or asbestos times 100.

Tens of billions of dollars worth of products containing this chemical are sold in the US each year.  Apparently no one did any serious tests of the toxicity of NTD before they began developing products with it.  Now we have an entire industry that lives on it, and has a tremendous vested interest in keeping that research from going public.

The EPA seems to be ignoring it.  One can only assume that they are getting tremendous pressure from the business interests to do so.  The pressure from the sick is going to ramp up now that this information is reaching the public.

Soon we will have class-action lawsuits on behalf of people with mysterious and horrible diseases fighting against the thousands of businesses that have used NTD (and the insurance companies that back them.)  The science will get lost among all of the monied special interests who can pay for the studies to support their positions.  That is why we have to learn to aim before we fire--in this case not release a product on the public before it has undergone adequate testing.

It's too early to short the companies that make and sell NTD.  But it might not be too early to buy stock in the law firms that will be attacking and defending it.  Because in the end the only people/companies that will benefit from this catastrophe are the lawyers.  But that's a gripe for a different day.

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