Industry & health


Nanotechnologies are a set of technologies applied to the atomic and molecular scale of a substance or material. Under the correct conditions it can alter the behaviour of a 'conventional' substance.

Development of nanomaterials has been accelerating for the last 10 years. The global market is expected to grow by at least 100 million euros in the next 10 years.

Proponents of these technologies claim that they will provide new products and services and even increase human capabilities. Possible applications include better targeted medicines, more efficient energy storage and lighting, better insulation materials, and enhanced physical characteristics of natural resources.

Yet the novel properties of nanomaterials have the potential to create novel hazards and risks. Relevant studies have shown that some nanostructures are hazardous to human health. Furthermore, nanomaterials may be eco-toxic after being discharged into the environment as their small size allows them to be easily internalised by animals and humans.

For more information, read our series 'nanotechnologies in the 21st century':

Challenges and Opportunities to Green Nanotechnologies: Issue 1

Nanomaterials - health and environmental concerns: Issue 2

A critical Review of Governance Issues in Europe and Elsewhere, Issue 3

Shaping Innovation: Policy approaches on innovation governance: Issue 4