A new video podcast on nanotechnology safety from the ASME Nanotechnology Institute

by Admin on March 2, 2011

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have just posted a new video on the safe development of nanotechnology, as part of their series of nano educational podcasts.  The video features Risk Science Center director Andrew Maynard, and can be viewed directly below.

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The podcast was shot and edited while Maynard was Chief Science Advisor at the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN), and includes coverage of the PEN Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory.

This video is one of a series of visual and audio educational resources being developed by ASME on nanotechnology.  These resources – which include interviews with experts in the field and cover both the applications and implications of nanotechnology – can be accessed here.  Registration is required, but access is free.

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  5. Risk Science Center director Andrew Maynard talks to NOVA about the dangers of nanotechnology

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa June 9, 2011 at 9:53 am

What are the problems? Comment from UK consumer


Toxicity: Corporations have rushed into commercialising the first generation of nanotechnology based products (nanoparticles) before adequate safety testing procedures, let alone regulations, are in place to deal with them.

Given that nanoparticle products, including cosmetics and wound dressings, are already on the market and food and environmental remediation applications are not far off this should be ringing alarm bells.

There is a growing body of scientific opinion which claims that a unique set of problems are associated with the toxicity of manufactured nanoparticles.

The concern is two fold:

Firstly that by being reduced to the nanoscale materials become more reactive and therefore potentially more toxic.

Secondly, that our bodies have not evolved to recognise nanoparticles. Before their deliberate manufacture as nano-particles relatively few particles of this size existed in the world. As a result our bodies protective filters, ranging from the skin to the lining of the lungs to the blood/brain barrier, do not filter out nano foreign bodies — with potentially dangerous effects.

“There is evidence that UFPs [Ultra Fine Particles or nano particles] can gain entry to the body by a number of routes, including inhalation, ingestion and across the skin. There is considerable evidence that UFPs are toxic and therefore potentially hazardous. The basis of this toxicity is not fully established but a prime candidate for consideration is the increased reactivity associated with very small size.” -Dr Vyvyan Howard, Toxicologist.

Despite nano particle based products already being on the market there are very few published studies on the toxicology of nanoparticles. Those studies that have happened have shown problems, for example fish exposed to carbon nanoparticles quickly developed brain damage. EVEN the traditionally pro-technology Royal Society has urged caution about the use of nanoparticles and has stressed the need for regulation to be put in place.

We are only dealing with the first generation of relatively simple nanotechnology based products and there are already safety issues. As the scope of commercial nanotechnology increases we can expect further safety problems to arise. For example what will the biosafety implications of Nano-biotechnology be?



“The basic position of Consumers Union urges FDA to recognize that nanoscale particles exhibit novel properties and/or behaviors, compared to their larger counterparts, and raise unique safety concerns, so that a separate safety assessment must be required before such nanoscale particles/materials can be used for any food ingredient or packaging component that comes in contact with food. We, thus, agree with the recommendation of the UK Royal Society, and the European Commission’s expert panel, which have stated that nanoparticles should be considered different that the normal size counterparts and separate safety assessments should be performed on them. Furthermore, FDA should require labeling of such ingredients immediately.”



Theresa UK Consumer June 10, 2011 at 4:01 am

A friend, sent me the following link. I would be grateful for Andrew’s comments.
Many thanks.


“……Enzyme choker

A recent Friends of the Earth report gives a good overview of what is known so far about nanosilver and its environmental effects. FoE has, in fact, been campaigning on this subject for years.

Silver’s antibacterial properties come as a result of the way it acts as a catalyst, disabling the enzyme, or chemical lung, that bacteria need for their oxygen metabolism. Much like antibiotics, nanosilver doesn’t distinguish between good and bad bacteria – it just kills any bacteria it comes into contact with, many of which are beneficial, even necessary, for our survival and the survival of other species.

Silver nanoparticles can kill the bacteria which, through a process known as denitrification (removing nitrates which build up through excessive fertiliser use), are used to clean waterways. Should they reach our soils, for instance via the water supply, nanosilver particles can threaten soil bacteria which play a key role in making nitrogen available to plants and the breakdown of organic matter.

At the same time as threatening beneficial bacteria in natural systems, nanosilver may compromise our own ability to control harmful bacteria. The potential for nanosilver to result in increased antibiotic resistance among harmful bacteria is a serious concern. Not only may certain harmful bacteria become resistant against nanosilver, but because of the type of resistance mechanism that might evolve, it is believed there is potential for these bacteria to develop a parallel resistance to around 50 per cent of currently used antibiotics.

While some alternative healthcare practitioners recommend taking colloidal or ionic silver orally, the human health effects of ingesting it – or even applying silver to your body over the long term – are unknown. There exists no published research evidence to back the mostly outrageous claims being made for such supplements…..”


Said Soliman April 12, 2013 at 5:42 pm

please I hope to share by some activities in your project, but i need to read firstly about your nano project


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