[extropy-chat] FW: ETC Group: COMPETITION ANNOUNCEMENT: Design a Nano-Hazard Symbol

Joseph Bloch transhumanist at goldenfuture.net
Wed Oct 11 01:41:43 UTC 2006

Ironic is an understatement.


Hughes, James J. wrote:

>Anders - Submit yours. It would be ironic for a transhumanist to win a
>Luddite contest. - J.
>COMPETITION ANNOUNCEMENT: Design a Nano-Hazard Symbol
>ETC Group announces International Graphic Design Competition CALL FOR
>Biotechnology, nuclear power, toxic chemicals, electromagnetic radiation
>-- each of these technological hazards has a universally recognized
>warning symbol associated with it. So why not nanotechnology -- the
>world's most powerful (and potentially
>dangerous) technology?
>Concerned citizens everywhere are invited to submit their designs for a
>universal Nanotechnology Hazard Symbol at:  http://www.etcgroup.org/
>Entries will be judged by a panel of eminent judges convened by the ETC
>Group (Action Group on Erosion Technology and Concentration,
>www.etcgroup.org). These judges include Dr. Vyvyan Howard (Editor of the
>Journal of Nanotoxicity), Dr. Gregor Wolbring (The Canadian Advisory
>Commitee on Nanotech Standardisation), Chee Yoke Ling (Third World
>Network), Claire Pentecost (Associate Professor and Chair of the
>Photography Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago),
>Rory O'Neill (Editor of Hazards magazine) and Dr. Alexis Vlandas
>(Nanotechnology Spokesperson for International Network of Engineers and
>Scientists for Global Responsibility). Entries will also be judged by
>participants at the World Social Forum, Nairobi, Kenya, 20-25 January
>The winning entry will be submitted to international standard-setting
>bodies responsible for hazard characterisation, to international
>governmental organisations and to national governments as a proposed
>symbol for nanotechnology hazards.
>Closing date: 8 January 2007
>A gallery of entries submitted will be available at http://
>Why Do We Need a Nano-Hazard Symbol?
>Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the tiny level of atoms  
>and molecules, has created a new class of materials with unusual  
>properties and new toxicities.
>It used to be that nanotechnology was the stuff of science fiction.  
>Today, however, there are over one thousand nanotechnology companies  
>worldwide. Nanoparticles, nanotubes and other engineered  
>nanomaterials are already in use in hundreds of everyday consumer  
>products, raising significant health, safety and environmental  
>concerns. Nanoparticles are able to move around the body and the  
>environment more readily than larger particles of pollution. Because  
>of their extremely small size and large surface area nanoparticles  
>may be more reactive and more toxic than larger particles of the same  
>substance. They have been compared to asbestos by leading insurance  
>companies who worry their health impact could lead to massive claims.  
>At least one US-based insurance company has canceled coverage of  
>small companies involved with nanotechnology. Unlike more familiar  
>forms of pollution arising from new technologies, nano-hazards  
>(potentially endangering consumers, workers and the environment) have  
>yet to be fully characterized, regulated or even subject to safety  
>testing. The US Food and Drug Administration will have its first  
>public meeting about regulating nanomaterials on October 10, 2006.  
>Most governments worldwide have yet to even begin thinking about nano- 
>regulation. Nonetheless, nanoparticles invisible to the naked eye are  
>already in foods, cosmetics, pesticides and clothing without even  
>being labelled. Every day laboratory and factory workers could be  
>inhaling and ingesting nanoparticles while the rest of us may be  
>unwittingly putting them on our skin, in our body or in the environment.
>It's not just a safety question. Nanotechnology also raises new  
>societal hazards: The granting of patents on nano-scale materials and  
>processes, and even elements of the periodic table, allows for  
>increased corporate power and monopoly over the smallest parts of  
>nature. Some designer nanomaterials may come to replace natural  
>products such as cotton, rubber and metals -- displacing the  
>livelihoods of some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the  
>world.  In the near future the merger of nanotechnology with  
>biotechnology (in nano-biotechnology applications such as synthetic  
>biology) will lead to new designer organisms, modified at the  
>molecular level, posing new biosafety threats. Nano-enabled  
>technologies also aim to 'enhance' human beings and 'fix' the  
>disabled, a goal that raises troubling ethical issues and the specter  
>of a new divide between the technologically "improved" and "unimproved."
>ETC Group has called for a moratorium on nanoparticle production and  
>release to allow for a full societal debate and until such time as  
>precautionary regulations are in place to protect workers, consumers  
>and the environment. Standard setting bodies around the world are now  
>scrambling to agree on nomenclature that can describe nanoparticles  
>and nanomaterials. A common, internationally-recognized symbol  
>warning of the presence of engineered nanomaterials is equally overdue.
>For a short and simple introduction to Nanotechnology see "A Tiny  
>Primer on Nano-scale Technologies," available online:  http:// 
>Details Of The Competition:
>We are asking concerned people everywhere (including artists,  
>designers, scientists, students, regulators and members of the  
>public) to submit possible designs for an international Nano-Hazard  
>warning symbol that could be used to identify the presence of  
>nanmoaterials. This symbol could, for example, be placed on products  
>containing nanomaterials, in laboratories or factories where workers  
>handle nanoparticles, or on containers transporting nanomaterials.  
>The symbol should be simple,  easy to recognize and communicate  
>clearly the new, potential hazards that result when matter is  
>manipulated at the nanoscale (1 billionth of a metre -- the size of  
>atoms and molecules).
>We encourage participants to be as creative as possible in inventing  
>a new nano-hazard symbol. Images can be designed on computer or by  
>hand, scanned, photographed or otherwise rendered in 2 dimensions --  
>either using colour or in black and white. Entries will be judged on  
>their conceptual as well as artistic merit. Descriptions and  
>explanations accompanying the entries will be very welcome.
>For examples of existing hazard warning symbols for comparison see  
>Participants can submit as many different entries as they wish. Each  
>entry should be submitted seperately. Entries can be submitted in one  
>of 3 ways:
>1) Upload electronically using the upload form at http:// 
>2) Email as a jpeg or gif file to nanohazard at etcgroup.org
>3) Send by post to Nano-Hazard Competition, ETC Group, 431 Gilmour  
>Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 0R5. Canada
>Please include your name, country and a contact email or postal address.
>All submitted entries will be treated as non-copyright and in the  
>public domain unless the submitter wishes to place them under a  
>creative commons license allowing free non-commercial use (see  
>details here http://www.creativecommons.org). Entries submitted with  
>copyright conditions (other than creative commons) will not be  
>considered. Entries sent by post will not be returned.
>The closing date for entries is 8th January 2007.
>Judging will be in two parts:
>Judging Panel: A selection of entries will first be made by a panel  
>of eminent judges chosen by the ETC Group.
>This panel includes:
>Dr. Vyvyan Howard, Founding editor of the Journal of Nanotoxicology.
>Dr. Gregor Wolbring, The Canadian Advisory Commitee on Nanotech  
>Chee Yoke Ling, Legal Advisor, Third World Network.
>Claire Pentecost, Artist, Writer, Associate Professor and Chair of  
>the Photography Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
>Rory O Neill, Editor of Hazards (trade union workplace safety magazine).
>Dr. Alexis Vlandas, Nanotechnology spokesperson for International  
>Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility.
>Public Judging: The selected entries will then be displayed at the  
>World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya (20- 25 January 2007) for civil  
>society attendees to judge. We also encourage everyone to view the  
>gallery of submitted artwork online and submit comments there.
>More Information:
>For a short introduction to nanotechnology see:  "A Tiny Primer on  
>Nano-scale Technologies" available online:  http://www.etcgroup.org/ 
>For an introduction to the toxicity of nanoscale materials see the  
>following resources:
>"Size Matters" (2003), an ETC Occasional Paper which includes an  
>appendix by Dr Vyvyan Howard, Founding Editor of the Journal of  
>Nanotoxicology: http://www.etcgroup.org/upload/publication/165/01/ 
>ETC Group's 2004 Communique, 'Nano's Troubled Waters'   http:// 
>A May 2006 report on nanotechnology in sunscreens and cosmetics by  
>Friends of the Earth: http://www.foe.org/camps/comm/nanotech/
>A recent scientific evaluation of nanoscale hazards by the European  
>Commission's highest level scientific committee on toxicity, The  
>Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks:  
>A comprehensive overview (2004) of nanoparticle toxicity, "Small  
>Matter, Many Unknowns" by Swiss Re, the world's second largest re- 
>insurance company: http://www.swissre.com/INTERNET/pwsfilpr.nsf/ 
>Take Action:
>The US Food and Drug Administration is holding its first-ever public  
>hearing to discuss regulatory issues related to nanotechnology on  
>October 10, 2006. Despite the fact that the US government spends  
>approximately $1 billion per year on nanotech R&D and hundreds of  
>consumer products are already on the market, the US government spends  
>a paltry $11 million per year on nanotechnology related risk research  
>(1.1% of the total budget). Go here for details: http:// 
>In May 2006 ETC Group joined the International Center for Technology  
>Assessment, Friends of the Earth and other consumer health and  
>environmental groups in a legal petition challenging FDA's failure to  
>regulate health and environmental threats from nanomaterials  
>currently used in consumer products.  The full petition and an  
>executive summary are available here:   http://www.icta.org/nanotech/ 
>You can send electronic comments to the FDA asking them to properly  
>control, regulate and label nanomaterials. An online form is  
>available to help you do this via The Center for Food Safety.  Go to:  
>ETC Group mailing list
>extropy-chat mailing list
>extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list