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Thread: Nanotechnology sparks fears for the future

  1. #1
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
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    Nanotechnology sparks fears for the future

    Nanotechnology sparks fears for the future

    Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter

    div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited { color:#06c; } Read the report in full
    Nanomaterials are likely to kill people in the future just as asbestos did unless extensive safety checks are put in place, a Royal Commission report has said.
    The team of experts assessing the likely impacts of the emerging technology are worried that when nanomaterials escape into the environment they will damage people and wildlife but that it will be years before the effects are seen.
    Past generations have brought into general usage materials such as asbestos, leaded petrol, CFCs and cigarettes without adequately considering the potential damage and the commission fears nanomaterials will prove similarly dangerous.
    Only by introducing rigorous safety systems, including widespread monitoring and intensive research, can threats posed by nanomaterials be identified and countered, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution concluded.
    Nanomaterials are already used in a variety of products on the market including a range of clothes in Japan that have dispensed with dye because refracting nanomaterials provide the colours.
    A nanomaterial placed on the surface of the glass in the roof at St Pancras Station has been designed to keep it clean. It reacts with sunlight to break down dirt without the need for window cleaners to clamber up on the roof.
    Many sun creams contain titanium dioxide particles, a nanomaterial which has been in use for years. There are about 600 different products using nanomaterials around the world and around 1,500 have been patented.
    Professor Sir John Lawton, chairman of the commission, accepted that no evidence has yet been found to show damage has been caused to human health or the environment by nanomaterials.
    But he said that while the technology had the potential to offer many benefits to society

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5149705.ece

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Max View Post
    Nanotechnology sparks fears for the future

    Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter

    div#related-article-links p a, div#related-article-links p a:visited { color:#06c; } Read the report in full
    Nanomaterials are likely to kill people in the future just as asbestos did unless extensive safety checks are put in place, a Royal Commission report has said.
    The team of experts assessing the likely impacts of the emerging technology are worried that when nanomaterials escape into the environment they will damage people and wildlife but that it will be years before the effects are seen.
    Past generations have brought into general usage materials such as asbestos, leaded petrol, CFCs and cigarettes without adequately considering the potential damage and the commission fears nanomaterials will prove similarly dangerous.
    Only by introducing rigorous safety systems, including widespread monitoring and intensive research, can threats posed by nanomaterials be identified and countered, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution concluded.
    Nanomaterials are already used in a variety of products on the market including a range of clothes in Japan that have dispensed with dye because refracting nanomaterials provide the colours.
    A nanomaterial placed on the surface of the glass in the roof at St Pancras Station has been designed to keep it clean. It reacts with sunlight to break down dirt without the need for window cleaners to clamber up on the roof.
    Many sun creams contain titanium dioxide particles, a nanomaterial which has been in use for years. There are about 600 different products using nanomaterials around the world and around 1,500 have been patented.
    Professor Sir John Lawton, chairman of the commission, accepted that no evidence has yet been found to show damage has been caused to human health or the environment by nanomaterials.
    But he said that while the technology had the potential to offer many benefits to society

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle5149705.ece
    There is nothing special about "nanomaterials". Anything that is the order of 1-100 nanometers would count as nanomaterial. What is a nanometer? A nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter. While that seems to be very small, it is the range of sizes of most electronics. For example, CD or DVD, the silver discs that hold your data contain holes that are typically 100 nm deep by 500 nm in diameter. The wavelengths of light used to read CD or DVD are 400-700 nm in length. That is on the large end of nanoscale. On the small end of the nanoscale are molecules. A nanometer is 10^-9 m. An Ångström is 10^-10 m. A helium atom with its outer electron orbitals is about an Ångström in diameter. So, you are breathing in nanoparticles all the time. Smoke is nanomaterial, for example. Steam is nanomaterial. We should not fear nanomaterials any more than we should fear sitting around a campfire, walking around in a San Francisco fog, or drinking chicken soup. To be sure, you don't want to breath, drink, or eat too much nanomaterial and much depends on what is in it. Not all nanomaterials are dangerous and not all dangerous materials are nano in scale.

    Wise.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rdf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Young View Post
    <snip>We should not fear nanomaterials any more than we should fear sitting around a campfire, walking around in a San Francisco fog, or drinking chicken soup. To be sure, you don't want to breath, drink, or eat too much nanomaterial and much depends on what is in it. Not all nanomaterials are dangerous and not all dangerous materials are nano in scale.

    Wise.
    I think the fear is of the unknown, and replication. If nanomaterials are created to for instance clean up oil spills or some similar function, and they're built to self-replicate until there are enough of them to eat all the oil, and the replication goes haywire and into overdirve along with an error in programming that makes them not eat only oil, but everything...well, goodbye Earth
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  4. #4
    And nano-sized black holes are also supposed to swallow the Earth over in Switzerland´s atom smasher. I´d be more worried about not cooking my chicken cutlets long enough.
    "So I have stayed as I am, without regret, seperated from the normal human condition." Guy Sajer

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