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Tiny Trouble: Nanoscale materials damage fish brains
In the field of nanotechnology, small might be better, but it's not necessarily safe. Biologists have found that a type of nanomaterial called buckyballs can damage brain cells in fish. ...Nanoscale materials are already used as pigments in cosmetics and sunscreens, and many more nanomaterials could reach consumers in the next decade or so. The exceptionally small size of these materials, whose dimensions may be only a few ten-thousandths of the width of a human hair, endows them with unique chemical and physical properties. However, their small size could also permit them to interact with living cells in unanticipated, potentially hazardous ways.
"There are so many positive things that can come of nanotechnology, so we need to be looking at the toxicity of these things," says biologist Eva Oberdörster at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Since buckyballs are currently being manufactured in large quantities, she and her colleagues looked for potential environmental effects of these soccer ball-shape carbon molecules.
To determine the molecules' toxicity, Oberdörster first tested the buckyballs on water fleas. The researchers added buckyballs to water tanks containing the small crustaceans. Over 48 hours, the team observed rising mortality with increased concentrations. They then calculated that at 800 parts per billion, 50 percent of the water fleas would die.
That makes the buckyballs "moderately toxic," says Oberdörster, slightly more toxic than nickel yet less toxic than chemicals such as benzopyrene, which is found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust.
Originally posted by Sigma
I guess I may as well chime in about molecular manufacturing. Once molecular manufacturing is developed we will unfortunatly no longer be considered the human race, however what emerges from humanities ashes will be a race millions of times more advanced.
Originally posted by sardion2000
Look at the last technological transition it almost destroyed us(and still could). We need to take heed of the past to make sure our future is secure.