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How will nanotechnology affect our lives - this part will not look in terms of the technological impact such as faster and cheaper computers, but at the very important health and environmental effects that necessarily must be considered.

When will it help cure cancer or and when might it cause it? Will the apparent ecological benefit of a nanoparticle that improves catalytic reactions be futile when we consider the ecological footprint of the nanoaparticles' life cycle? There are many open questions where the search for answers has only just begun!

Nanotechnology has been proclaimed to imply a wealth of potential benefits for society many of which will have direct or indirect positive effects on the environment. Of specific environmental importance is the potential improved efficiency of energy production, reduced energy use of products, reduced use of chemicals due to e.g. functionalization of surfaces, remediation of soil pollution, improved sensoring and monitoring of the environment and improved functionality of materials.

Additionally, principles of green engineering and chemistry are beginning to be integrated into the development of nanomaterials, meaning that nanotechnology may also lead to more environmental beneficial production methods (Schmidt, 2007) [1].

There are a lot of opportunities but as with many other nanotechnologies there is still a large gap from the research labs to manufacturing and real life use of nanotechnological products and solutions.

The focus here will however be at the potential health and environmental impacts. For a more thorough review of ecopotentials see e.g. Malsch [2] , Dionysiou [3] , Masciangioli [4] ,and Schmidt. [1]

References Edit

See also notes on editing this book about how to add references Nanotechnology/About#How_to_contribute.

  1. a b Schmidt, K.: Green Nanotechnology: It's easier than you think. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. PEN 8 April 2007 Invalid <ref> tag; name "Schmidt3a" defined multiple times with different content
  2. Malsch, I. Benefits, Risks, Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects of Nanotechnology 4th Nanoforum report; Nanoforum: Jun, 04.
  3. Dionysiou, D. D. Environmental Applications and Implications of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials. Journal of Environmental Engineering, Jul, 2004, pp 723-724.
  4. Masciangioli, T.; Zhang, W. X. Environmental technologies at the nanoscale. Environmental Science & Technology 2003, 37 (5), 102A-108A.

Nanotechnology Wikibook Chapters: 01020304050607080910