Nanotechnology: the benefits and the risks

UK scientists believe that nanotechnology can be used to benefit human health through applications in water filtration, drug delivery and tissue and organ repair according to a new report published on Monday.

UK scientists believe that nanotechnology can be used to benefit human health through applications in water filtration, drug delivery and tissue and organ repair.

That’s according to a new report published on Monday as the result of a workshop held by the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering involved 42 scientists and engineers drawn from a wide spectrum of disciplines in universities and industry.

However, some nanotechnology experts at the workshop believed that more assessments need to be made of the potential risks to human health posed by nanotubes and other nanoparticles, which may have the potential to be hazardous in unpredictable ways.

Professor Ann Dowling, who is chairing the working group for the study on nanotechnology, said: ‘This report outlines some of the ways in which nanoscience and nanotechnology may develop, and the potential applications. We are publishing the report so that the science and engineering community in the UK and abroad can comment and let the working group know their views. The working group wants to make sure that they gain the most informed view possible of future developments in nanotechnology’.

The report indicates that some workshop participants were critical of major corporations for ‘becoming less open to engaging the public, and indeed their own peers, in discussing their nanotechnology research programs’.

There were also fears that the successful application of nanotechnology in the UK is being held up by the lack of a national strategy to guide its progress.

The report has been posted <a href=’http://www.nanotec.org.uk/workshopOct03.htm’>here</a>.