First they banned irradiation of foods, then GMOs, now they are starting on nanotechnology — all life-saving technologies.

posted in: Syndicated | 16

Nanotechnology Now – Press Release: “Nanostructured water treatment products to be worth $2.2 billion in 2015”

Warnings from nutritional hell, with apologies to El Bosco
We live in a world where whole organisations make comfortable incomes by demonising technology. These self-styled “technology critics” early successes included active blocking of the use of irradiation to make food safe or years. This largely unused technology is based on using electrons or radioactively generated gamma rays to kill germs.

Eleven years ago the German government vetoed the use of such radiation based technology to make food safe to eat in the EU. Odd that they should do this given that it’s a widely used and successful tool to avoid deadly infections during modern surgical operations. It could have prevented the ghastly current E. coli sproutbreak in Germany that has killed 44 and has condemned near 900 people to coping with the vile aftermath of HUS — which include kidney transplants or a lifetime of being hooked to dialysis machines. [It could also have prevented a second outbreak of sprout promoted lethal disease from the same E. coli strain now taking place in France.]

The next “success” of technology-critics was delaying and stymieing introduction of beneficial GMO foods. In this case the damage is felt mainly in developing countries. Damaging consequences of this include hundreds of thousands cases of diarrhoea and measles infections in people with poor immunity because they currently miss-out on genetically fortified vitamin A enhanced rice, and the countless thousands of Indian small-hold farmers needlessly exposed to dangerous synthetic pesticides because GM insect-protected aubergines and cabbages are unnecessarily kept out of the market by anti-GM activism in India.

Not content with these “achievements” which never seem to be included on anti-technology activist’s lists of dangers to worry about, the “technology-critics” have moved on to targeting nanotechnology (featured in this link), whatever that is.
Nanotechnology, it turns out, is used to purify water. Pure water is crucial to good health, and many developing country communities lack clean water. In China, for example, rotten village water resources are a contributory factor in high liver-cancer rates.
So civil society technology critics have now hit a deathly trifecta of tragic mistakes – which are truly a collection of warnings from nutritional hell. Unnecessary faecal contamination of food, avoidable vitamin A malnutrition-induced damage to immunity in the poor, and with the latest fear-fad of anti-nanotechnology activism, fear-mongering about a technology that gives us healthy drinking water.
Some day more mainstream journalists will wake-up to this farce and start writing  more widely about this travesty, and make  misguided activists come to their senses. Meanwhile Rachel Carson must be turning in her grave.
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David Tribe is an applied geneticist, teaching graduate/undergrad courses in food science, food safety, biotechnology and microbiology at the University of Melbourne.