Risks and Preventive Measures of Nanotechnology

Risks and Preventive Measures of Nanotechnology

Waqas Anwar (Mirpur University of Science and Technology, Pakistan) and Anwar Khitab (Mirpur University of Science and Technology, Pakistan)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1798-6.ch065
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Application of Nanotechnology in Civil Engineering is a rapidly growing field. It has brought improvements in construction materials as well as practices. Moreover, further developments are foreseeable in this field based on the positive outcomes of the current research works. Utilization of nanoparticles in Civil Engineering has been proved advantageous from several aspects of strength, durability and sustainability. Unfortunately, there are not only benefits associated with the application of nanotechnology. According to various studies, nanoparticles are supposed to damage human organs through physical contact and inhalation. Considering the environmental impacts, atmospheric transport, as well as transport in saturated and unsaturated regions in the subsurface are possible. Nowadays, nanoparticles are progressively produced and they could easily be released in air, water, and eventually contaminate the soil which is harmful for the environment and its habitats. The following chapter would address these issues as well as preventive measures in order to improve benefit-risk ratio.
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Exposure To Environment And Habitats

Generally, nanomaterials become threat for the environment and its habitats when they are discharged in undesirable quantities into the wrong destinations. Nanomaterials may be released from point or non-point sources. Point sources include industries, storage units etc. and non-point sources include storm water runoff or wet deposition from the atmosphere. Exposure to nanomaterials may occur unintentionally in the environment or through the use of nanotechnology based products in our daily lives. Human exposure to these nanoparticles is more likely to happen during the manufacturing process. However, inhalation of nanomaterials released to the atmosphere and use of drinking water or food having accumulated nano particles is also possible. Moreover, absorption by soil and then transportation in saturated and unsaturated regions in the subsurface is also possible. This is very likely to affect the ground water table which then needs proper treatment before it is used for drinking and irrigation purposes (Wiesner et al., 2006). Furthermore from soil, nanoparticles may easily become the element of the vegetations; thus becoming a serious health threat for all consumers including the tiny insects.

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