Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Nanoparticles or No-No Particles?

One thing we need to be careful of is that, as the last century has shown us, with new technologies come new forms of toxic solution.

Treehugger reports that nanotechnology is no exception:

As the use of silver nanoparticles increases, in everything from washing machines to the new Tata water filter intended to bring safer water cheaply to billions of potential customers, a new study confirms disturbing evidence that silver nanoparticles cause "dramatic mutations" in fish.

"'I think we jumped the gun' by creating such large volumes of nanoparticles," study author Darin Furgeson, of the Nano Institute at the University of Utah,told Scientific American. Most of the silver nanoparticles used in applications like sunscreens, anti-odor treatments and filters are discharged into the environment as the product incorporating the nanosilver is used. The nanosilver cannot be treated by current wastewater handling systems, nor can it be detected by traditional analytical methods.

From a report on the study in Environmental Health News:
In one new experiment, Furgeson, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences, exposed zebrafish embryos to silver nanoparticles in a laboratory, and found that some died and others were left with dramatic mutations. "Some of the fish became extremely distorted, almost making a number nine or a comma instead of a linear fish," he said.

Is it really that surprising that creating particles this tiny (smaller than red blood cells and even the AIDS virus), which can easily get into our skin, our organs, you name it, is turning out to be a health threat to people and planet alike?!

Who's the idiot who failed to realize that we really need thorough and decisive testing completed and smart regulations in place before these technologies are approved for public use?

C'mon people -- it doesn't take an Einstein to realize that some nanotechnologies could turn out to be pretty friggin dangerous, and we need to be extraordinarily thorough in our safety testing before releasing this stuff into society and the environment... 

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