Vlandas' comment

Dr. Alexis Vlandas is Nanotechnology spokesperson for International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility.

In addition to esthetical criteria I based my choice on symbols which conveyed the impression of loose particles freely dispersing. I indeed believe that the main worry comes from material that can easily disperse and thus easily enter the human body. It should be noted that even if particles are initially embedded in a media, great care has to be taken to assess the whole cycle of life of the product so that even when it is disposed of the nano-particulate remain trapped.

In the view of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility (INES) this competition is a useful reminder of how little progress has been accomplished since the release of the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering report. While some funding has been allocated to human and eco-toxicity research, the actual amounts (just a few million dollars) are minute compared to the total research effort ( billions of dollars) in nanotechnology. New products are however put on the market everyday.  A much more proactive effort is needed to understand the complex phenomena (bio-accumulation, degradation, unforeseen chemical reactions, etc.) which could lead to negative impact on human health or the environment. While INES remains unconvinced whether or not labelling is the best way to protect citizens (why not just make sure products are safe?). We hope that this competition will help bring much needed attention to this question.