potential impact on the public and whether there are alternatives that exist already to the product being considered. “We try to make sure that when there’s a product that actually has impact, the barriers that it faces are commensurate with the potential impact,” he said.

Dr. Duncan stressed engaging the public in risk–benefit assessments of nanotechnologies. “The public decides whether the risk–benefit is acceptable. As scientists and regulators, we have a duty to our patients to tell them accurately what the risks and benefits of the technology are,” she said. Dr. Li agreed that it is important to engage the public in these assessments, but he expressed concern about the public’s ability to make the scientific distinctions needed to adequately assess the risks and benefits of nanomedicines. He suggested educating the public about what nanotoxicology means in the environment or in their food versus what it means in medicine. He said that public understanding of risk–benefit is important in order for regulatory agencies to effectively communicate their work.

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