Week 9: Everyday Nanotechnology. by selenni cisneros

Before Desma9, I had heard about the subject of nanotechnology before. But, I had no idea whatsoever what nanotechnology was about. After viewing Professor Vesna’s presentation, it made me curious about what else nanotechnology had in common with MY life. I finally stumbled upon an article about nanotechnology and items that hit close to home, such as everyday household items. The article is titled ‘Much Ado About Nanotechnology.’ The article begins by saying that nanotechnology is in manufacturing, food production and health care items. You may wonder exactly HOW nanotechnology is worked into these products. Well, objects as tiny as a few dozen atoms can be changed in shape and size as well as function, and the products mentioned have been changed in this way. The article focuses on how nanotechnology has worked into commerce and manufacturing and the government has not assessed the risks that come along with nanotechnology. According to the article, the fact that the government has not done as much as it can, is because this type of technology is so new. A huge problem is that manufacturers have begun to use nanotechnology quietly, using it in many consumer products, in everyday items as well, such as medicines, cosmetics, and food even! But, there has been effort to pass laws in order to regulate and understand and address the “environmental safety and health risks posed by engineered nanomaterials.” Soon, if not already, Canada will become the first nation to enforce companies to make lists of the engineered nanomaterials that they themselves use. Something like this would be amazing and is definitely needed in the United States. J. Clarence Davis says in the article of technology, including nanotechnology, that it is often a treasure chest of riches as well as Pandora’s box of evils. The article also states that although nanotech is small, it can have large complications. Nanotechnology is “extremely complex.”  From a list of 800 products that use nanotech, about 100 products are for direct application on our bodies. While some of these products, for example a hair treatment infused with nanoscale gold particles that attach to hair shafts, are completely unharming to the human body. But, there are concerns for other products, such as products stating that they “encapsulate ‘therapeutic’ agents within nanoscale capsules designed to survive skin penetration…” Nanotechnology is even used in products intended for direct digestion. If this product were to be unhealthy or have any sort of reaction, the person would be digesting it and putting it straight into their body. Even dietary supplements use nanotechnology are not checked as well as they should be from the FDA. Nanotechnology is used in sunscreens as well. There has been a study showing that certain sunscreens, such as from L’Oreal, are completely harmless when applied to normal skin on a human being. But, another study shows that if the human being had unhealthy and UV damaged skin, there is chance that they would obtain an unhealthy reaction. The bad thing is, that the makers of the products are not required to inform the buyers that they use nanotechnology in their products. So, at the moment, you yourself could be using nanotechnology-modified products. Although nanotechnology is a great, modern, new, and marvelous technology that is changing the world, it wouldn’t hurt anyone, in fact it could benefit everyone, if the products were regulated with more caution.

by selenni cisneros

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