Too often the users of nanoparticles assume that substances that are safe in larger dimensions will present no problems when used in nano applications. But if engineering a substance down to a few nanometers (a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers thick) gives it special features like improved electric conductivity, logic suggests it might also present new threats to the human body.
Two dollar amounts are often cited in the discussion on nanotechnology safety risks. One is the projected value globally of all applications of this technology by 2015: $1 trillion. The other is the estimated $200 billion in death benefits, medical care, cleanup costs and legal fees associated with another miracle material, asbestos. If industry had invested more in investigating the health threat that asbestos fibers posed, thousands of lives and billions of dollars could have been saved.
For more than a year, the Environmental Protection Agency has been considering which course to take on nanotechnology. The agency could find guidance on its own Web site, in a statement about the risk of fine particulate matter in industrial pollution: "The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems," with very fine particles more likely to penetrate lung tissue. Both the federal government and industry should heed the United Nations' urging and increase investment in the potential downside of super-downsizing.
- The Boston Globe
The yellow bows and the red-white-and-blue ribbons that have dotted the area landscape in recent years never seem to go away. They become faded by the sun and tattered by the wind, but they manage to hang on. Likewise, their message of support for service members and their family persists, even as the deployment of area-based troops to Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations continues.
It is important, however, to reiterate that message from time to time, to let people know that while their duty almost seems routine in many eyes, around here folks recognize that their commitment is anything but ordinary.
The truth is that going into harm's way never becomes "routine," and the people who do that - along with the loved ones they leave behind on the home front - deserve the support of every one of their fellow Americans, particularly those of us who are their friends and neighbors.
- The Daily News, Jacksonville, N.C.