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Assess the overall benefits and drawbacks of nanotechnology, as well as special

Science
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Assess the overall benefits and drawbacks of nanotechnology, as well as special considerations for safety.

Feb 8th, 2015

Nanotechnology provides plenty of advantages in fields where it is applied. Environmentally, it is able to help expedite the cleaning up process through developments such as that of nanofabric “paper towels”, which absorb 20 times its weight in oil, and filters in airplane cabins which are better able to remove odors. In agriculture, nanotechnology-enabled sensors are being advanced in order to be able to pinpoint harmful agents present in the air and soil. This would help farmers find the best possible places to grow crops as well as be aware of the reasons for poorly grown produces. Nanotechnologies have also been applied in cosmetic and beauty products through enhancing antioxidant and anti-microbial properties, and windows and other surfaces have been modified in order to be water-proof, anti-reflective, scratch-proof and electrically conducive. Overall, nanotechnology is  aimed at helping advance the work and tools needed to provide humans with a better life.

Yet despite the benefits nanotechnologies present, disadvantages inevitably follow. Some notable disadvantages are: 1. Ethical concerns due to the potential to engineer humans to become hyper-intelligent and much stronger, leading to a discrepancy in status because of a “lower class” of humans; 2. The greater chances for unemployment to rise in the farming and manufacturing industries because of the lesser need for human labour with more efficient technology; 3. The production of atomic weapons posing as a threat to society.

Aside from those mentioned, one imminent disadvantage which easily goes unnoticed yet should not be ignored is the factor of nano-pollutants. Nano-pollutants are particles small enough to enter one’s lungs and be absorbed by the skin which becomes very dangerous not only to one’s health, but to the general environment. These nanosized contaminants cause instabilities and disorders in the environment, the same way they do to one’s body. Volcanoes and the ocean often release nanoparticles when they release ash or have waves which burst violently, respectively, and this amount of nanoparticles is not what is causing harm to the world. Rather, the man-made nano-pollutants are the ones people should be wary of. By-products from the manufacturing of nanotechnologies are where the miniscule pollutants often come from, and the fact that these are placed in landfills allows more exposure to soil and air. Nano-pollution from car exhausts and construction sites are also easily soaked up by the air, and inhaling a high amount of nano-pollution is quite toxic to both humans and other animals, thus if left unresolved could lead to a great problem in our ecosystem.

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Feb 8th, 2015

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