International Journal of Nanomedicine (2014-12-01)

Interactive survey of consumer awareness of nanotechnologies and nanoparticles in consumer products in South Korea

  • Kim YR,
  • Lee EJ,
  • Park SH,
  • Kwon HJ,
  • An SSA,
  • Son SW,
  • Seo YR,
  • Pie JE,
  • Yoon M,
  • Kim JH,
  • Kim MK

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 2014, no. Supplement 2
pp. 11 – 20

Abstract

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Yu-Ri Kim,1 Eun Jeong Lee,1 Sung Ha Park,2 Hyo Jin Kwon,3 Seong Soo A An,4 Sang Wook Son,5 Young Rok Seo,6 Jae-Eun Pie,7 Myoung Yoon,8 Ja Hei Kim,8 Meyoung-Kon Kim1 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Korea University Medical School and College, Seoul, South Korea; 2Department of Biochemistry, University of Bath, Bath, UK; 3Department of Medical Education, Korea University Medical School and College, Seoul, South Korea; 4Department of Bionanotechnology, Gachon University, Seongnam, South Korea; 5Department of Dermatology, Korea University Medical School and College, 6Department of Life Science, Institute of Environmental Medicine for Green Chemistry, Dongguk University, Seoul, South Korea; 7Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Science and Engineering, Anyang University, Anyang, Korea; 8Consumers Korea, Seoul, South Korea Background: The purpose of our study was to understand consumers' risk awareness and need for relevant information about nanotechnology and nanoparticles contained in products currently being sold in Korea. Methods: One thousand and seven adult consumers (aged 20–50 years) were randomly selected from all over South Korea between November 1 and 9, 2010. We surveyed the origin and degree of their concern and their need for information and education regarding nanomaterials. Results: Analysis of the survey results showed no significant differences in responses by sex, age, and level of education, but significant differences were found in responses based on average monthly household income. Our research showed that consumers have vague expectations for and positive image of nanotechnology and nanoproducts but do not clearly understand what they are. In addition, we found that preparing and disseminating information to consumers is required in order to provide correct information about nanotechnology to the public. Conclusion: A communication system should be established among the multiple stakeholders involved with nanomaterials to address consumer expectations and concerns. Further, a safety evaluation system must be set up, the results of which should be processed by a reliable expert group so they can be disseminated to the public. Keywords: questionnaire survey, nanomaterials, consumer characteristics, household income