Are nano particles risky?

Aug09-JoanneShatkin2Engineering new materials at the nano or atomic scale holds great potential for improving products and industrial processes.
But what risks do these novel materials pose human health or the environment?
Joanne Shatkin addressed this issue at the recent Conference on nanotechnology and forest products hosted by TAPPI and Alberta Ingenuity.
Shatkin is an author and managing director of CLF Ventures, an affiliate of the Conservation Law Foundation in the United States.
According to Shatkin, “All the properties that make nanomaterials so exciting as new materials are really novel properties. They behave differently from existing substances that we’re used to working with. That’s what raises the concern. If they behave differently from an engineering perspective, they also may behave differently from a biological and environmental perspective. So it raises some concerns that we need to address as these materials are being developed before they go widely out into the market.”
That’s why Shatkin advocates industry and regulators take a proactive approach toward nanotechnology. “My goal,” she says, “is to try to build sustainability into these new products early on. The exciting piece about nanotechnology is that you can engineer out the properties that you don’t want. So if we are looking for those properties now… if we’re thinking about potential harm, then we can identify it early and deal with it.”
These issues are outlined in her book, entitled Nanotechnology: Health and Environmental Risks.

Explore posts in the same categories: Cheryl Croucher, Edmonton Technology

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