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U.S. Leads In Nanotech, But Asia, Europe Gaining

A sneak preview of a major study on the nascent technology also suggests that the possible toxic dangers of nanotechnology need to be examined more closely.
The U.S. lead in nanotechnology is gradually being whittled down by Europe and Asia, according to a sneak preview of a major study on the nascent technology being prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Moreover, while the technology holds out great promise for breakthroughs across-the-board in a wide range of disciplines, the possible toxic dangers of nanotechnology need to be examined, according to the advisors, the Washington Post reported.

The toxicity studies need to be stepped up, John H. Marburger III, co-chairman of the study committee, said at a briefing last week. Marburger is science advisor to President Bush and chief of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The U.S. is outspending other regions in the world, the advisors noted, and the funds committed to nanotechnology research and development are coming in large part from private investment and individual states.

"The states are spending mountains of money," said E. Floyd Kvamme, the other co-chair of the committee, according to the Washington Post. "They are the folks turning this into a commercial enterprise."

Early products based on nanotechnology are beginning to dribble out--in the form of strong tennis rackets and stain-resistant fabrics, for instance--while the world awaits more promising nanotech-based products in medicine and other fields.

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