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Home > News > Nano-Risks: A Big Need for a Little Testing

January 12th, 2010

Nano-Risks: A Big Need for a Little Testing

Abstract:
A decade ago the great worry about nanotechnology was that it could quite literally destroy the planet. As Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy warned in his essay "Why the Future Doesn't Need Us," self-assembling nanobots could potentially spread out of our control (Mis-)programmed to replicate ad infinitum, these subsentient bots would spread across the landscape as a gray goo of devastation, consuming the earth and every unlucky creature who called it home.

In response to this uncertainty, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a grand research strategy to study the health and environmental effects of nanomaterials, a welcome step that many have been advocating for years. We hope that the program will help build a robust database that will give policy makers and the public the facts needed to understand the possible health risks that specific nanomaterials might create. And although it would be unwise to rush careful research efforts, speed is paramount. According to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, more than 1,000 consumer products containing nanomaterials are available in the U.S., a number that is quickly growing.

Source:
scientificamerican.com

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