Nanotechnology: Is It Safe or Are We on a Path to Disaster?

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Submitted By mahenya4
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Nanotechnology: Is it safe or are we on a path to disaster?

In the last few decades, science has driven technology to new heights. The most prominent and significant change has been the reduction in size of these technologies. However, in the effort to simplify our lives by making things smaller and smaller, some of us fail to see the risk in such bold endeavors. This quest to manufacture objects at the microscopic scale has created the field of Nanotechnology which refers to the creation of devices and materials on extremely small scales. The products of Nanotechnology are composed of individual particles called Nanoparticles which have one dimension (width, height, or length) that is less than 100 nanometers. To put that in perspective, the width of a human hair is about 10 to 1000 times bigger than a nanometer. At such miniscule size, materials can be created with valuable chemical and physical properties, such as the ability to conduct electricity in the case of electronics, which enable for a wide range of technological applications, ranging from faster computer chips to new ways of treating cancer. The incorporation of Nano-technologies in commercial products has begun what some scientists and journalists are calling a “Nano revolution.” In other words, more and more technologies have at least some component that was engineered using Nanotechnology. With such wide range of applications, it is no wonder groups like the International Council of Nanotechnology (ICON) have been formed to investigate the possible harmful effects. In vitro cellular toxicology tests which are tests performed in an isolated environment, where the only contaminants are the nanoparticles, have shown that the particles can get inside the body but the specific health risks are yet to be determined (Colvin, 1167). Without further proof, nanomaterials will continue to be manufactured…...

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