November 13, 2005

Nanotechnology for Novices

I saw an article reporting that nanoparticles of silver may inactivate the HIV virus. Well, I didn't know how small a nanoparticle was so I searched the web and found some facts. The dictionary defines nanoparticle as "a microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers," and a nanometer is a billionth of a meter.

I found a FAQ on nanotechnology at
. It's actually pretty interesting. For instance, it says:
Nanoscale titanium dioxide for instance is finding uses in cosmetics, sun block creams and self-cleaning windows, and nanoscale silica is being used as a filler in a range of products, including dental fillings. Recently, a number of new or “improved” consumer products using nanotechnology have entered the market (such as stain and wrinkle-free fabrics incorporating "nanowhiskers"..

The FAQ continues with concerns about the mostly-unknown possible hazards for workers in plants where nanoparticles are used. More information on products using nanoscale materials can be read at I had no idea that this technology had become so important.

A British magazine on workplace hazards summarizes ongoing work on health risks of nanoparticles at Looks like nanotechnology may cause some diseases AND cure other disease. Environmental Defense writes about it as a "double-edged sword" at

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