In March this year, the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) called for a global moratorium on nanotechnology. The IUF cited concerns regarding the health and environmental risks of nanotoxicity, the broader socio-economic implications of nanotechnology, and the failure to involve the public in decision making about the introduction of this powerful new technology. The IUF represents nearly 12 million workers from over 120 countries – its call for a moratorium is the most significant to date.
Guillermo Foladori and Noela Invernizzi, academics associated with the Latin American Nanotechnology and Society Network (ReLANS), have released a detailed appraisal of the IUF’s response to nanotechnology and an analysis of its implications.
“Nanotechnologies are the next technological revolution. The technical characteristics that distinguish them are their capacity to produce new materials and their ability to give known materials new functions. This unique, near-alchemist character of these technologies allows them to be applied to almost any economic sector. This leads to potentially devastating impacts on old technologies and products, so that we are bound to see huge economic and social changes in the coming years.
This article looks at the position on nanotechnologies adopted by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF), within the context of the current debate on the social and economic implications of these new technologies and the potential environmental and health risks posed by them.
The IUF´s resolution has considerable political weight due to the organization´s global scope, as it represents nearly 12 million workers from more than 120 countries. Its importance also lies in its clearly stating the specific interests of workers faced with nanotechnology development”.
For an overview from Friends of the Earth Australia of nanotechnology’s entry into the global food chain click here.