Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Nanotechnology as pollution?

Nanotechnology holds big promises. Nanotechnology could even, a day, revolutionize the way we treat or prevent disease, the way we look, the way we think and even the way we go to war.

Nanotechnology is as inspiring as year 2000 was, back in the 50's. It is far away but still it is already here. The problem is this, nanotechnology could, one day, be a very big problem. How do we get rid of microscopic things that do not respond to medication, antibiotics or antivirals. We already thought of creating new devices that seem promising, but have we thought of poential solution to real future problems? Some particles could be so small, there is a potential for them to be endocytosed by some tissues. They could gain access to vital organs like the brain, kidneys or liver. G√ľnter Oberd√∂rster is a researcher in the field of nanotoxicology and his studies prove that nanoparticles can gain access inside the body through inhalation.

At the cell level, those nanoparticles can be ingested by specialized cells called macrophages. These cells, that have evolved to destroy microorganisms, can move from blood circulation to tissues and back to blood. This way, they can transport nanoparticles to tissues. These cells, when they die, will spill this nanopollution. Nanoparticles, many of them, have a very stable form. Bucky tubes and bucky balls are made of carbon and their molecular configuration makes them as stable as diamond (which is also carbon). Once in the tissues, they could stay there for a very long time and nobody can predict what can happen.

We, humans, have this problem....we create problems to which we have no solutions. Silly human race....