Public trust will define success of nanotechnology - Finnish Health Minister Hyssälä

September 15, 2006

Brussels, 14 September 2006

This is the first time that nanotechnology is being dealt with by such a broad forum, partici-pated in by representatives from the EU of the public sector, the scientific and technological communities and civil society.. Our most important task is to discuss how nanotechnology can be developed in a safe way, said Minister of Health and Social Services in her opening ad-dress to the EU conference on nanotechnology, at Otaniemi, Espoo, Thursday 14 September.

Held under the title 'Safety for success' the conference is the latest in a series of EU forums dealing with nanotechnology. Nanotechnologies feature in the EU's strategy and action plan as offering promising opportunities as long as they are used safely and responsibly. Minister Hyssälä stressed that nanotechnology offers new opportunities in the area of welfare.

"Nanoscience and technology should be used to improve the quality of life and the environ-ment. They also affect competitiveness. We want to consider nanoscience as offering both economic and social benefits. At the same time we have to make sure that the area of nanotechnology and science is ethical and balanced.

The development of high technology, such as nanoscience and technology, requires public engagement and trust. From the perspective of consumers and employees the technology must be safe. All risks to humans and the natural environment must be mapped out. The intention of the EU's conference on nanotechnology is to present safety recommendations to the public administration, which is responsible for overseeing the issue.

Minister Hyssälä urged the scientific, technology, consumer and public administration repre-sentatives at the conference to promote an understanding of nanotechnology that is clear and credible, and to suggest sustainable proposals for its use.

EU Council
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