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NDnano Paper Examines Nanotechnology-related Safety and Ethics Problem

Summary posted by Meridian on 4/30/2012

Source: Notre Dame University (27 April 2012)

Author(s): Arnie Phifer

A researcher at Notre Dame University’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano), United States, has written a paper that provides an example of a nanotechnology-related safety and ethics problem that is currently unfolding. Kathleen Eggleson, a research scientist at the Center, said the world of nanotechnology may seem remote to many people, but, like most new advances, the application of the technology to everyday life has implications that can affect people in real ways, some of which might even be harmful. Eggleson describes how nanosilver is being developed for use in medical facilities, to coat medical materials, as well as applying the nanoparticles to hard surfaces and fabrics, to help reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections. These new materials are proving effective, but, says Eggleson, the vast majority of bacteria and other microorganisms are actually neutral, or even beneficial, to human life and a healthy environment. Overuse of nanosilver products could pose a danger to such microorganisms and enable resistant strains to flourish. “Under most conditions, the preservation of microbial biodiversity is a benefit,” explains Eggleson. “In fact, those who would use these potent new antimicrobial technologies for frivolous uses, such as for odor control, work directly against the U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative’s goal of responsible nanotechnology development.”

The original article may still be available at http://newsinfo.nd.edu/news/30536-notre-dame-leads-in-the-discussion-of-the-ethical-and-societal-impacts-of-nanotechnology/

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Stakeholders: AcademiaGovernment

Implications: Human EnhancementHuman Health RisksEthicsEnvironmental RisksGovernance

Regions: North America

Nanomaterial Category: Metal Nanoparticle

Health and Medical: Diseases

Minerals and Metals: Metals

Nanotechnology and Development News

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