Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nanotechnology: the unknown

People are crazy about nanotechnology. Even household cleaning products tout the presence of nano-sized particle in the mixture. The big issue here about nanotechnology is the pretty much the lack of knowledge on what the result of the interaction between nanotechnology and living organism is. As far as I understand, researchers have been trying to use nanotechnology to kill bacteria. Researchers have also understood by now that nano-sized material behave differently from the big size one (by big size, it can mean micro to few meters). You can easily search for these information in the net. Yet, because of its mass appeal, nanotechnology produces many nano-sized particles that have been rolled out into the market without fully testing whether the particles affect the world in the wrong way. Recently, I came across a report saying that the nano-sized particles in the sunscreen were found to kill the beneficial microbes in the environment. I shudder to think that this is really only on the iceberg.

Technology advancement is crucial important for human advancement. Nanotechnology is indeed one of the forefront in the effort to better human lives. However, researchers need to have the moral and ethical understanding that technology interacts with the environment. Technology should not be made in the expense of the environment. Nothing good will emerge if the environment start dying because of human foolishness and lack of effort to understand their own made technology.

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