Environmental, health and safety aspects of nanotechnology-implications for the R&D in (small) companies

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Science and Technology of Advanced Materials, 2007, 8 (1-2), pp. 12 - 18
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The growth of nanotechnology has led to an unprecedented research and development effort in both the public and the private sectors; world wide, an increasing number of laboratories, fabrication and manufacturing plants develop or apply novel nanometre-sized materials for applications ranging from large-scale industrial materials, to electronic components and healthcare and medical products; an increasing number of start-ups have been launched to establish their nanotechnology-based products in a trillion-dollar market. Very little, however, is known about the interaction of man-made nanostructured materials and living organisms, as studies of nanotoxicology are gaining increasing interest, but are still in their infancy. Despite the formation of many focus and lobbying groups, proper legislation of the environmental, health and safety aspects of nanotechnology will take years to be implemented. In the mean time, it is of utmost importance that companies working with nanometre-sized matter take appropriate precautions to protect their staff, the environment and the customer. Toxicology tests and agency approval of new nanometre-sized materials are prohibitively expensive, but, even if working on a tight budget, nanotechnology companies can achieve an ethical and safe business conduct via a number of possible routes. © 2007 NIMS and Elsevier Ltd.
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