Infinitely small nanostructures will soon permeate your food, body and environment on the grounds of improving structure, preventing disease and enhancing traits, but their potential to be toxic, invade immune systems or simply behave erratically and unexpectedly could pose real dangers in a burgeoning industry rapidly delving into the unknown
Aaron Dykes / Jones Report | December 6, 2007
Nanotechnology could become a revolutionary force in the near future, but its microparticulate nature poses uncertain risks and unknown dangers as it infuses unchecked with foods, cosmetics, medical treatments, plastics and many other materials which already permeate hundreds of consumer products.
Many scientists have recently aired their concerns in an apparent paradox– the very developments expected to work wonders across the gamut of science, medicine, technology and everyday life could expose consumers to the vulnerability of nanotech’s infinitely small size and potential instability.
The Economist reports that:
“Nanoparticulate versions of a [known] material can act in novel ways… despite hundreds of years of experience in chemistry, it is not easy to predict how a substance will behave when it is made extremely small. Plenty of research suggests that nanoparticles of harmless substances can become exceptionally dangerous. Materials, such as gold, that would not react to other substances become reactive. [Yet] silver can have antimicrobial properties.”
Despite an insufficient understanding of the adverse effects nanoproducts could have on health and the environment, big money is pouring into an industry expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2010 and several trillion by 2014, which governments across the globe are already stimulating with cash injections and heavy subsidies.
Channel News Asia expects that nanotech will “permeate almost every aspect of our lives” in the “time to come.”
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