Nanotechnology may be a manufacturing revolution, but how environmentally responsible (and safe) will it be? In an article in ScienCentral News (produced by ScienCentral Inc. in collaboration with The Center for Science and the Media), technology monitoring firm Lux Research estimates that by the year 2015, the global output of goods using nanotechnology will be $4 trillion. But the manufacturing processes sometimes involve toxic organic solvents, and some nanoparticles themselves are potentially hazardous to both workers and consumers.
Researcher James Hutchison of the University of Oregon has reportedly developed decontamination techniques that use water and an ultrafine filter to remove particles of certain sizes. “To commercialize these materials, we have to find solutions that make the processes more convenient, much more efficient, and safer,” says Hutchinson. The policy group Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (www.nanotechproject.org) maintains a list of consumer products that manufacturers say incorporate nanotechnology.