I see three eggheads won the Nobel prize for finding a new way to link carbon atoms. What they were referring to was the production of nanotechnology. The thought occurred to me some of the ramifications of this technology. I've dealt with many chemicals over the years but my reference point in terms of size is asbestos. An asbestos fiber is 3 microns. This is why your vacuum with HEPA filter can catch particles down to that size. It's 99.97% efficient. Nano material is far smaller than that. That little fact had me wondering about how to deal with such a material. As a worker how would you protect yourself when the filters on your respirator only filter to certain level far above what is being breathed. To give you a perspective the molecules that make up your DNA are at 2 nanometers. The carbon nano materials are at 1/20th of that. You see the problem there? First we have no way to protect workers from exposures to these materials other than totally sealed systems. But then there's the effects on human DNA and the environment. While we think of all the neat whiz bang products we could make from this technology we fail to see this long term.
We are already seeing just a few of the nasty effects of the use of these materials:
Some of the recently developed nanoparticle products may have unintended consequences. Researchers have discovered that silver nanoparticles used in socks only to reduce foot odor are being released in the wash with possible negative consequences. Silver nanoparticles, which are bacteriostatic, may then destroy beneficial bacteria which are important for breaking down organic matter in waste treatment plants or farms.
A study at the University of Rochester found that when rats breathed in nanoparticles, the particles settled in the brain and lungs, which led to significant increases in biomarkers for inflammation and stress response. A study in China indicated that nanoparticles induce skin aging through oxidative stress in hairless mice.
A two-year study at UCLA's School of Public Health found lab mice consuming nano-titanium dioxide showed DNA and chromosome damage to a degree "linked to all the big killers of man, namely cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging".
From personal experience the odor eating socks present problems later when the magic wears off and foot infections follow. Sun screens are another area to watch. You could protect yourself from the sun only to land up altering your DNA later. You could read the labels but better to keep abreast of what's going on from independent sources. Those TV ads wouldn't lie now would they?