The Unknown Dangers of Nanotech

Veröffentlicht: 6. Dezember 2007 von infowars in Gesundheit, Wissenschaft/ Technik
Schlagwörter:



Infinitely small nanostructures will soon permeate your food, body and environment on the grounds of improving structure, preventing disease and enhancing traits, but their potential to be toxic, invade immune systems or simply behave erratically and unexpectedly could pose real dangers in a burgeoning industry rapidly delving into the unknown

Aaron Dykes / Jones Report | December 6, 2007

 

Nanotechnology could become a revolutionary force in the near future, but its microparticulate nature poses uncertain risks and unknown dangers as it infuses unchecked with foods, cosmetics, medical treatments, plastics and many other materials which already permeate hundreds of consumer products.

Many scientists have recently aired their concerns in an apparent paradox– the very developments expected to work wonders across the gamut of science, medicine, technology and everyday life could expose consumers to the vulnerability of nanotech’s infinitely small size and potential instability.

The Economist reports that:

„Nanoparticulate versions of a [known] material can act in novel ways… despite hundreds of years of experience in chemistry, it is not easy to predict how a substance will behave when it is made extremely small. Plenty of research suggests that nanoparticles of harmless substances can become exceptionally dangerous. Materials, such as gold, that would not react to other substances become reactive. [Yet] silver can have antimicrobial properties.“

Despite an insufficient understanding of the adverse effects nanoproducts could have on health and the environment, big money is pouring into an industry expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2010 and several trillion by 2014, which governments across the globe are already stimulating with cash injections and heavy subsidies.

Channel News Asia expects that nanotech will „permeate almost every aspect of our lives“ in the „time to come.“

Yet many are worried that nano-scaled toxic particles can be breathed-in more easily and would more quickly accumulate in the body. The Economist writes „research on animals suggests that nanoparticles can even evade some of the body’s natural defense systems and accumulate in the brain, cells, blood and nerves.“

„I think it’s genetically engineering on steroids, because nanotechnology has a much bigger application that will be applied to every single aspect of the food chain. It’s much more scary,“ said Dr. Rye Senjen

For researchers like Dr. Rye Senjen, the primary concern is when food and nanotech mix:

„I think it’s genetically engineering on steroids, because nanotechnology has a much bigger application that will be applied to every single aspect of the food chain. It’s much more scary,“ she said.

Nano-particles will radicalize food, serving new uncertain functions such as preserving lettuce to an extended 30-day shelf life and enhancing food products like chocolate with a dazzling synthetic sheen, and will potentially alter the nutritional value of a wide range of other foods (for better or for worse).

„Some companies want to use nanoparticles as ingredients in the food itself,“ Simon Lauder reports for the Australian Broadcasting Corp. But the potential dangers? „Nanoparticles could breach the body’s defenses in ways no natural food can,“ he says.

But the AFP concludes that it is actually the science and tech crowd who are more worried about these issues. „Public and political awareness of the technology… is amazingly low, Nigel Cameron of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future told AFP. The report also commented on a poll that surveyed reactions to the emerging nanotech industry:

„The average Joe and Jane are more worried than the experts that nano will cause job losses, an arms race and a loss of privacy, according to the surveys published in Nature.“

Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy warned in 2000 against the potential for nanotech to „destroy the biosphere on which all life depends,“ referring to its offers of power as a „Faustian bargain.“

Currently, nanotech is heavily subsidized and rapidly gaining investment yet under-researched and thus far unregulated. Manufacturers aren’t required to declare what products have been created with nanotechnology– and agreed upon standards and practices are not yet well-developed.

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Industry experts are calling for more research money to better understand the dangers and risks, which is currently hampered by factors including the „big hands“ difficulty of accurately measuring and testing the properties of such tiny particles.

At the same time, the potential benefits of nano-medicine could be enormous. Chemistry World reports that certain nano materials may be able to „kill the H5N1 bird flu virus“,“incorporate copper oxide as an antifungal“ and use „silver for its antibacterial properties.“ There are also a number of serious proposals to use nanobots in the repair of organs or to target viruses and agents of disease in the blood system or throughout the body.

Further down the road of nanotech development, leading futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil foresees potential crises such as nanobot wars and epidemics generated at the nano-level in his ground-breaking book The Age of Spiritual Machines. Just think of the danger it could pose in the hands of the elite, who already regard human life as a force to control, regulate and dispose of at will.

The potential for autonomous, self replicating and possibly thinking nanobots to either use or become mutating pathogens within the drama of a war between nanobot factions or against mankind is beyond frightening yet well-enough within the realm of things to come that it poses serious questions about the survival of the human population… at least in Kurzweil’s vision.

Whether or not such issues will remain science fiction or later become reality remains to be seen. At present, nanotech is little more than a big business opportunity with aspirations of infiltrating every niche in the market. What its effect could be for health, food, environment, energy, machinery, warfare or the human condition has yet to be seen. The nano world is still too much an unknown.

FURTHER READING:

Experts: Nanotech Risk Higher Than You Think

The Economist: The risk in nanotechnology – A little risky business

Nanotechnology a ‚bigger concern‘ than GM foods

Bill Joy: Why the future doesn’t need us

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