The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

Is Nanotechnology Hazardous?

Graham Marshall - Sunday, May 08, 2011
Nanotechnology is a term used for products and processes containing microscopically small particles.

These particles are typically 1,000th the width of a human hair so they're pretty small!

As with most hazards, nanotechnology has the potential to bring enormous benefits but it may also have the potential for considerable harm. 

In that sense, the management of the hazards posed by nanotechnology is no different to the management of traditional hazards like electricity, oil and gas or nuclear power that bring to us the benefits of  lighting, heating, cooling and mass transportation.

The real task is to ensure that humanity reaps the upside benefits of the use of nanotechnology whilst managing the downside risk.

Nanotechnology is expected to make a major contribution to improving quality of the life, in particular in sectors such as material sciences, health care, information technology, and the environment.



Although it is early days, the European Commission has developed a  Strategy for Nanotechnologies  .
 
The European Commission’s has also released Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies: An action Plan for Europe 2005-2009  which endorses the requirement for a safe, integrated and responsible approach to the development of nanotechnology.

The European Commission has also developed an  information site  including a sub-site  Nanotechnologies  providing answers to a number of frequently asked questions.

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