There seems to be an ever increasing amount of press about potential safety concerns of nanotechnology. Much of nanotechnology is still in the "dream phase" and a lot of people buying into the hype of "nano" will say it can enable and fix anything we need it to in the future... in the future... in the future.... I tend to think that is wishful thinking and that a lot of the "fears" about nanotechnology are unfounded primarily because they aren't anywhere near technologies yet.

However, there are a lot of nanoparticles making their way into the market these days in the form of nanomaterials, eg: Nanopants which caused a bit of a stir, and a lot of cosmetics products; L'Oreal is the single largest holder of "Nano"-patents... no small feat for sure. So, if we are wearing nanotechnology, and especially plastering it on our skin, it becomes a very valid question to ask about the environmental and health risks of these products in their use and manufacturing.

Moreover, with all of the increasing press "Nano" is getting, especially on the negative side, it will be crucial to the field of nanotechnology and nanoscience (I'm considering the -science as less applied work not likely to directly lead to commercialization) to provide information on the heath and safety of products coming to market. Otherwise, public paranoia is likely to develop which could shut down perfectly safe and viable technologies before they ever get a chance to mature. Misinformation, or worse, lack of information is a difficult foe to fight.

So, on that note, although I don't necessarily agree with everything put forward here, it is interesting to see that there is some movement toward a coherent plan to study environmental and health effects of nano. Next step: informing the public.

ScienceNOW: Tiny yes, but are they safe?

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