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Thread: Environmental risks of nanotubes and buckyballs

  1. #1 Environmental risks of nanotubes and buckyballs 
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    Read the latest articles:

    http://www.sciscoop.com/story/2005/12/11/72137/000
    http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7001460634
    http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/...a6b09c&k=27037
    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=1395169
    http://www.financialmirror.com/more_news.php?id=2685
    http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?I...01&Category=23

    Although it has environmental risks, it also has environmental benefits. Thus, nanotech is a double edged sword.


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  3. #2  
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    Not all nanotech has environmental risks. So far, only nanotubes and buckballs are known to have risks. So you thread title "Environmental Risks of Nanotech" is inflammatory, imprecise and over-generalized. You can be certain that "nanotech" molecules with other compoisitions and shapes will have widely different toxicities, including being absolutely safe.

    Yout title is equivalent to stating "Environmental Risks of Food", since some foods are safe and essential, while other foods can be toxic, carcinogenic, or evoke allergic responses.

    (And I doubt buckyballs have a real toxicity issue, since the toxicity test methodology is fundamentally flawed if you read the original published studies. C60 is completely insoluble in water; in these studies the C60 was dissolved in tetrahydrofuran to make dilute solutions or colloids. IMHO, the toxicity was due to the THF carrier solvent, not the C60; either way, since C60 is insoluble in water, it is nearly impossible to imagine how this molecule could get into lipophilic membranes. See for example http://cohesion.rice.edu/centersandi...ummaryid=45090 A little original research is a good thing.)

    Nanotubes share the same risks as any very small fibers, including glass fibers, phosphate fibers and asbestos fibers. they can lodge in lung tissues, and create irritations which can lead to infections and/or cancers.


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  4. #3  
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    Not all nanotech has environmental risks. So far, only nanotubes and buckballs are known to have risks. So you thread title "Environmental Risks of Nanotech" is inflammatory, imprecise and over-generalized. You can be certain that "nanotech" molecules with other compoisitions and shapes will have widely different toxicities, including being absolutely safe.

    Yout title is equivalent to stating "Environmental Risks of Food", since some foods are safe and essential, while other foods can be toxic, carcinogenic, or evoke allergic responses.
    Agreed so title changed.
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  5. #4  
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    You know, the tiny latex (as small as 100nm size is used) spheres used so successfully in paints are excellent examples of nanotechnology. The polymers are designed to hyperbranch exactly to the point to which they stop polymerizing, to create uniformly very tiny spheres. In addition, stiff and flexible modifier groups are placed into the center of each polymer chain to give the exact thixotropic rheological properties which prevent splatter. There is now even a hollow latex sphere whose internal optical refractive properties have replaced the need to add TiO2 pigments.

    Also, the "impact modifier" additives blended into thermoplastics which make auto bumpers and body panels are another excellent example of nanotechnology. These are composed of very tiny uniform sized solid block polymer concentric spheres, in which the inner sphere is flexible and the outer polymer shell is harder. The impact modifier additives prevent cracking when the plastic is stressed or ages by absorbing stresses and preventing crack propagation. These tiny little chemical additives add to the safety of the auto, and save lives and help the environment, because the bumpers absorb collision energy better than metal, weigh less than metal, and their manufacture has a much smaller ecological impact than metal bumpers. These additives are what has enabled the successful use of plastics in these applications over the last 10-15 years in autos.

    Chemistry is improving our life in many little ways - including nanotech chemistry. You just never hear about it. And it is safe.

    I could go on and on with other applications of nanotech chemistry which have already quietly moved into our lives to make our living better. Unfortunately, our undereducated press reporters don't really have a clue and write inflammatory articles which then snare the public into unwarranted fears.
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