Nano-pollution: The Future threats


Nano-pollution is a generic name for waste generated by nano-devices or during the nano-materials manufacturing process. Eco-toxicological impacts of nanoparticles and the potential for bioaccumulation in plants and microorganisms is a subject of current research, as nanoparticles are considered to present novel environmental impacts.

Future prospects in different fields of nano-applications seem unlimited and its high potential will affect our daily life, our health and the environment in the years to come. Nano-materials found applications in the fields of consumer products (cosmetics, textiles, diagnostic materials, personal care products, paints, etc), food, energy, medicines, computers, portable telephones and a great variety of other scientific fields. But in recent years, scientists and environmentalists are thinking about possible hazards to human health resulting from nano-particulate exposures in the working environment, after contact with consumer products and through environmental pollution.

The nanoparticles can enter the body through many routes: dermally, by ingestion, inhalation, injection or by implantation. Nanoparticles enters dermally when they are present in skin care products, hair products or lip balms including sunscreens and anti-wrinkle cream. One known consequences of human exposure to metals is the development of illnesses such as argyria and argyrosis caused by chronic exposure to soluble silver compounds. Silver can also cause some environmental problems. Due to its antimicrobial (antibacterial) properties, when present in soil it can kill beneficial bacteria that are important to keep the soil healthy. Environmental assessment is justified as nanoparticles present novel environmental impacts.
Every scientist using Nanoparticles or being exposed to them should use protection such as a masks, gloves etc. while working with the nano-materials. They should also be careful about the disposal of these materials once experiments are completed to ensure that these harmful particles do not enter the environment and exacerbate the new classification of pollution, nano-pollution.
Faisal Alam
Dept. of Environmental Science and Disaster Management
Noakhali Science and Technology University