Responsible nanotechnology development

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Nanotechnologies have an increasing relevance in our life, numerous products already on the market are associated with this new technology. Although the chemical constituents of nanomaterials are often well known, the properties at the nano level are completely different from the bulk materials. Independently from the specific application the knowledge in this field involves different type of scientific competence. The accountability of the nanomaterial research imply the parallel development of innovative methodological approaches to assess and manage the risks associated to the exposure for humans and environmental to the nanomaterials for their entire life-cycle: production, application, use and waste discharge. The vast numbers of applications and the enormous amount of variables influencing the characteristics of the nanomaterials make particularly difficult the elaboration of appropriate nanotoxicological protocols. According to the official declarations exist an awareness of the public institutions in charge of the regulatory system, about the environmental, health and safety implications of nanotechnology, but the scientific information is insufficient to support appropriate mandatory rules. Public research programmers must play an important role in providing greater incentives and encouragement for nanotechnologies that support sustainable development to avoid endangering humanity's well being in the long-term. The existing imbalance in funds allocated to nanotech research needs to be corrected so that impact assessment and minimization and not only application come high in the agenda. Research funding should consider as a priority the elimination of knowledge gaps instead of promoting technological application only. With the creation of a public register collecting nanomaterials and new applications it is possible, starting from the information available, initiate a sustainable route, allowing the gradual development of a rational and informed approach to the nanotoxicology. The establishment of an effective strategy cannot ignore the distinction between different nanoparticles on their use and the type of exposure to which we are subjected. Categorization is essential to orchestrate toxicological rules realistic and effective. The responsible development of nanotechnology means a common effort, by scientists, producers, stakeholders, and public institutions to develop appropriate programs to systematically approach the complex issue of the nanotoxicology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1007
JournalJournal of Nanoparticle Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Environment
  • Health
  • Nanotoxicology
  • Risk assessment
  • Social responsibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Bioengineering


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