Engineered Nanoparticles: A Cause For Responsible Innovation

895 words - 4 pages

The field of Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of infinitesimally small matter. The National Nanotechnology Initiative defines nanotechnology as the manipulation of matter with at least one dimension sized from 1 to 100 nanometers. By employing nanotechnology and its opportunity for miniaturisation in the development of consumer products, we have placed ourselves on a paradigm changing technology path permitting considerable efficiency savings in terms of cost, energy and resources. These developments would surely have not been possible without the avail of nanotechnological processes. Accordingly, the field of nanotechnology is a rapidly expanding and major innovative force amongst the scientific community, and the increasing incorporation of engineered nanoparticles into consumer products has presented very real health and environmental risks. A growing public debate has arisen weighing the societal induced benefits against the potentially adverse ecotoxicological effects this technology may impose upon humans as well as the surrounding environment. Unfortunately, there remains significant scientific uncertainty regarding the behaviour of nanoparticles. This report attempts to address the possible hazards associated with the eventual release of engineered nanoparticles into the environment and the associated adverse health effects these hazards may introduce whilst simultaneously calling for sovereign reform in the commercialization of these products and increased scrutiny of their regulating policies.
Suspended air particulates, commonly referred to as pollution, have been scientifically proven to pose hazardous health effects on humans including an increased risk of coronary heart diseases such as Myocardial infarction and a heightened risk of developing cancerous tissue. Engineered Nanoparticles pose an even greater anent and forthcoming threat to the health and safety of those exposed to them, as their nanoscale size allows them to enter the lungs and even the bloodstream with considerable ease. Going forth, their microscopic size allows them to enter via: dermal, ingestion, inhalation, and parenteral routes. In the process of respiration, the particles are uptaken through the alveolar regions in the lungs and consequently enter the body allowing them to interact with many vital bodily components up to 100 nanometers in size. The incorporation of nanotechnology in drug administration (parenteral routes) is also an area of serious concern. The process of endocytosis via the endocytotic pathway is naturally exploited by many viral pathogens and this phenomenon has spawned the ground-breaking medical technology known as nanoparticle-mediated drug delivery systems. Although these systems are currently used to observe areas affected by neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, systemic circulation through the parenteral routes has the potential to be exceedingly harmful leading to such effects as vascular...

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