Engineering at the nanoscale (one million to ten thousand times smaller than a millimetre; i.e. 1 to 100 nanometres) brings the promise of radical technological development — clean energy, highly effective medicines and space travel. But technology at this scale brings its own safety challenges.
This – Assessing the environmental safety of manufactured nanomaterials – In-depth Report shows that, despite early fears, nano-sized particles are not inherently more toxic than larger particles; however, differences between them may be notable and new insights are still being provided by research.
The effects of nanoparticles on humans and the environment are complex and vary based on particle properties as well as chemical toxicity. This report brings together the latest science on environmental safety considerations specific to manufactured nanoscale materials, and the possible implications for policy and research.
- Featured image Possible impacts of MNMs (manmade nanomaterials) on the aquatic environment (Geppert, 2015), ec.europa.eu, PDF page 54.
Related articles from Science for Environment Policy
- Nanomaterial alternatives assessment: a powerful tool for identifying safer options, ec.europa.eu (June 2017).
- Nanomaterial risk assessment frameworks and tools evaluated, ec.europa.eu (March 2017).
- Nanoparticles’ ecological risks: effects on soil microorganisms, ec.europa.eu (June 2016).
- Collecting data to explore the ecological threat of nanomaterials, ec.europa.eu (October 2015).