Nanotechnology From Engineers to Toxicologists: Risks and Remedial Measures

Nanotechnology From Engineers to Toxicologists: Risks and Remedial Measures

Waqas Anwar, Anwar Khitab
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/IJANR.2019070101
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There is growing public perception that nanotechnology products are flourishing without sufficient care for the risks they pose to life, global, and local environments. The transparency of safety issues and impact on environment should be the prime focus while engaging a particular field with nanotechnology. Testing of nano products needs to be enforced before they are released to the market. Whether nanotechnology is good or bad for the environment is totally based on the nature of its use and considerations made during its application. The use of nanotechnology in any field requires great care, and any sort of negligence is likely to bring negative effects for the environment and its habitats. Recent studies show that the lack of knowledge as regard risks is found even at the expert level. The present work highlights the risks associated with the use of nanoparticles and the necessary preventive measures for using the technology in a safe and sound way.
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Nanotechnologies is invariably perceived as the great white hope of the 21st century economy (Castillo, 2013). It has brought revolution in many fields like science, engineering, and medical. In engineering, various nanomaterials, devices and systems have been developed: They include carbon nanomaterials, nano-structured materials, polymers, nanocomposites and organic electronics (Varadan, Pillai, Mukherji, Dwivedi, & Chen, 2010). Nanotechnology is reported to enhance the life of materials exposed to aggressive environments, provide anti-reflection coatings on photovoltaic cells, and reduce friction & wear in automobiles (Korada & Hamid, 2017). In food sciences, nanotechnology is being used for food processing, packaging, development, safety, detection of food-borne pathogens and shelf-life extension (Singh et al., 2017). In addition, it has also found its application in increasing food nutrition and physical and organoleptic properties (He & Hwang, 2016). Nanotechnology has helped the medical scientists in synthesizing regenerative medicines and new drugs with enhanced targeted delivery (Shrivastava & Dash, 2009). It has also been used as developing sensors for early-state detection of cancer in human body (Perfézou, Turner, & Merkoçi, 2012; Y. Zhang, Li, Gao, Chen, & Liu, 2019). Nanobiotechnology leads to the development of pharmaceuticals and mechanical devices at nano-scale for the evaluation of biological systems and treatment of pathology (Saadeh & Vyas, 2014): It is estimated that by 2030, nanobots will be streaming through human veins and arteries for medical treatment (Trevor English, 2017).

In civil engineering, smart cementitious composites with enhanced performance and strength have been developed (Anwar Khitab, M. Alam, Riaz, & Rauf, 2014). Surface paints with enhanced life and resistant to aggressive environment have been developed and applied in actual field conditions (A. Khitab & Arshad, 2014). Pavements with anti-pollutant characteristics are developed and constructed in Japan, considerably reducing the city pollution caused by the car-exhausts (A. Khitab, 2012). Nanotechnology has helped creating concrete that has self-cleaning properties, known as photo-catalytic concrete and it has been used in the construction of many important buildings like new jubilee church in Rome and police headquarters Bordeaux France (Han, Zhang, & Ou, 2017). Concrete with high damage tolerance and damage sensing has been developed using nano Carbon Black (M. Li, Lin, Lynch, & Li, 2012). Concrete pavements that melt snow and avoid use of heavy machinery for snow-removal have also been developed, using nanomaterials (Chen, Wu, Xia, Jing, & Zhang, 2018). The use of nanotechnology in public health is equally well-recognized: The nanoparticles have the potential for the treatment of water and waste water to a great degree. CNTs, nano sized magnetite, CeO2 and TiO2 have been considered as prime nanoparticles to remove pollutants from water (Deliyanni, Bakoyannakis, Zouboulis, & Matis, 2003; Mayo et al., 2007; Nawrocki & Kasprzyk-Hordern, 2010).

As a matter of fact, nanomaterials have given too much to humankind and its blessings are countless. But they become threat for the environment and its habitats when discharged in undesirable quantities and in wrong destinations (Anwar & Khitab, 2017). For example, while treating water, negligence may leave undesirable quantity of nanoparticles in water; thus instead of doing benefit, it may cause harmful impact on the environment and health of consumers. Therefore, the exact quantification of nanoparticles to be released in a medium is the first responsibility, the world should care of.

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