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Nanotech Gone Awry?

ScuttleMonkey posted about 8 years ago | from the always-takes-a-few-problems-to-get-a-closer-look dept.

173

westcoaster004 writes "Chemical and Engineering News is reporting what appears to be 'the first recall of a nanotechnology-based product' due to health risks associated with it. The recall of 'Magic Nano' spray, which is for use on glass and ceramic surfaces to make them repel dirt and water, comes after at least 77 people in Germany contacted regional poison control centers after experiencing illness after using the product. The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has also issued a warning." Relatedly dolphin558 writes "There is an interesting story in the Washington Post on the unknown dangers facing employees of nanotechnology firms. The jury is still out on whether traditional HAZMAT safeguards are suitable when handling nanomaterials, many of which can be harmful. Research into potential workplace hazards is beginning to ramp up as the industry and government become more aware of this issue."

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173 comments

Nanotech? (5, Interesting)

shadowcode (852856) | about 8 years ago | (#15094437)

What I wonder is, how much of this product is actually related to nanotech? Isn't it just some fancy spray with 'nano' slapped on the label?

Re:Nanotech? (3, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15094474)

I always think of nanotechnology as dealing with self-replicating machines that are at the atomic scale. But I suppose any "spray" can technically be classed as nanotechnology (if you define it as "technology at the atomic scale").

Aaah, definition games. Fun.

Re:Nanotech? (2, Informative)

Columcille (88542) | about 8 years ago | (#15095168)

I always think of nanotechnology as dealing with self-replicating machines that are at the atomic scale.

You've watched too much StarGate. :)
From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:
Nanotechnology is any technology which exploits phenomena and structures that can only occur at the nanometer scale, which is the scale of several atoms and small molecules.

Re:Nanotech? (5, Informative)

jcorno (889560) | about 8 years ago | (#15094488)

According to one of the five linked articles, it contains silicon and silica nanoparticles. The same article mentions that the problem is only in the aerosol version of the product, not the spray pump. It could just be the propellant causing the problem, but that seems pretty unlikely. I don't think they'd have to resort to using an unorthodox propellant if you can use the stuff in a spray pump.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

jbengt (874751) | about 8 years ago | (#15094575)

My guess, and it's just a pure guess, is that, as the nano particles are suspended in water and ethanol, the aerosal makes a fine mist of liquid micro particles containing the suspended nano particles, which gets into the lungs easier than the macro particles from the spray pump.

Re:Nanotech? (0, Troll)

th3ranger (945738) | about 8 years ago | (#15094791)

Why does this all sound like Europe's reaction to genetically altered vegetables? They called it frankenfood...nevermind that without genetic altering corn would be a weed. This sound all too much like another ill informed reaction to a new technology those "across the pond" refuse to embrace or understand.

Re:Nanotech? (1, Flamebait)

The Terminator (300566) | about 8 years ago | (#15094961)

Classical breeding has no relationship to genetic manipulation. The simple truth with gentech is, its not needed with one exception: Cash for Monsanto, Syngenta et. al.
There is strong evidence, that genetically changed crop not simply harms the farmers bot helps take the,m hostage by Monsanto etc. Look at India and the rice and cotton plants. They have less quality and you dont need less but more herbizides and insectizides. Furthermore they are designed to not being fertile anymore so that you cannot gain seeds from your harvest. If I would get knowledge of a field with genetically seeds I would burn it down. That should be done with every single plant of genetically altered Plants!!

This is no joke, I mean it deadly serious!

CU

Re:Nanotech? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 8 years ago | (#15095123)

...thank god people like you areu usally too stupid to do anything correctly otherwise we'd have never gotten out of the stone age.

Re:Nanotech? (-1, Flamebait)

th3ranger (945738) | about 8 years ago | (#15095388)

Yeah Rakishi is right. (literally about the stone age thing) Nearly every plant that comes out of the USA, including the thousands of tonns we simply give away all over the world is genetically altered. It saves money and allows farmers to use less pesticides and makes more produce per plant. There is a relationship between genitic altering and crossbreeding. It alters DNA. Its the same damn thing. One is done by scientists the other by the machinery of the plant. The entire world eats "frankedfood" with no ill effects. Except europe of course because you morons believe the bad science mumbo-jumbo that started this ignorant belief in Europe. Wierd how you guys are the only "seeing" the effects of genetically altered food. I smell the same crap happening again with nano-technology.

So you're telling me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094821)

That they made a silicon/silica nanoparticle aerosol spray and didn't think it would hurt anyone?? Ever heard of pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis?

Re:Nanotech? (1)

e4g4 (533831) | about 8 years ago | (#15095417)

I would imagine that the problem is the fact that the aerosol version aerosolizes the nano particles, whereas the spray pump does not - have you ever observed the cloud of almost-vapor that just sort of hangs in the air when you spray something like Lysol? The same behavior with a substance containing nasty little nanoparticles could potentially be really, really bad for you. Why didn't they think of this? Surely they knew that inhaling billions of silica nanoparticles would be hazardous to your health.

Re:Nanotech? (5, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 8 years ago | (#15094494)

Isn't it just some fancy spray with 'nano' slapped on the label?

It's claimed to have nano-sized particles of silica and silicone suspended in ethanol and water. Silicone is known to be a mild dermal irritant, so I'd guess the illness is a result of silicone inhalation.

The nanotech aspect may be relevant in that the small particle size would allow the spray to bypass the body's protection mechanisms and directly affect the alveoli. That would be consistent with the symptoms described. It's drawing a long bow to call it a nanotech hazard though.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

Knuckles (8964) | about 8 years ago | (#15094525)

I agree with all you say except this: It's drawing a long bow to call it a nanotech hazard though.

to me it seems a very typical nanotech hazard, since "to bypass the body's protection mechanisms and directly affect " is a pretty common property of nano particles.

Re:Nanotech? (4, Interesting)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 8 years ago | (#15094583)

"to bypass the body's protection mechanisms and directly affect " is a pretty common property of nano particles.

Yes, but it is not a function of nano technology. Any respirable particle (one which is small enough to enter the alveoli) will have similar consequences. That includes things like grain dust, silica, asbestos, metal fume from welding - the whole pantheon of existing nano sized, but not nano tech toxins.

Re:Nanotech? (2, Interesting)

Knuckles (8964) | about 8 years ago | (#15095183)

Except that the widespread use of "low"-tech nanotech (like the spray in the story) will increase the number of types of those particles tremendously, and will likely come up with new types all the time.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

SnowZero (92219) | about 8 years ago | (#15095326)

Yeah, there's a lot of nanotech in my apartment on the furniture that I haven't used in a while. My apartment is constantly producing and inventing new types of particles in between dustings.

Re:Nanotech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094630)

""to bypass the body's protection mechanisms and directly affect " is a pretty common property of nano particles"

What, like smoke? Smoke is basically a bunch of Bucky balls that are nano-sized - or in pre-hype terms, microscopic - that also bypass the body's defense systems and suffocate you say, in a fire.

And to be honest silicone sprays have been around for ages, so slapping 'nano' on the front doesn't necessarily make it a micro-engineered product, you may as well say the same about hair spray...

Re:Nanotech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094778)

You're thinking of the second edition rules where a longbow has a 2/1 rate of fire. I think he means a heavy crossbow. They're quite the trick.

Re:Nanotech? (1, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 years ago | (#15094690)

The nanotech aspect may be relevant in that the small particle size would allow the spray to bypass the body's protection mechanisms and directly affect the alveoli. That would be consistent with the symptoms described. It's drawing a long bow to call it a nanotech hazard though.
You're right that it's about the small particle size and wrong that it's 'a long bow to call it a nanotech hazard'.

Asbestos (wonderful material) is considered verboten because, from Wikipedia: Most respirable asbestos fibers are invisible to the unaided human eye because their size [diameter] is about 3.0-20.0 m in length and can be as thin as 0.01 m.

0.01 m = 10 nanometers

Asbestos is the example Doctors use when talking about the threat from nanoparticles. The other biggies that get talked about are teflon and metal/welding fumes.

There's a big business in 99.97% HEPA filtration, because it's the standard for asbestos cleanup. You can read more about that specific filter quality [abatement.com] to understand why they use 99.97% as the benchmark.

In the past, particle size was talked about in microns or sub-micron. We've been dealing with nanoparticles for a long time, it's just now the word "nano" is getting attached to those products because nano is currently cool.

Preview Preview preevue! (3, Informative)

WinPimp2K (301497) | about 8 years ago | (#15095145)

respirable asbestos fibers are three to twenty METERS in diameter?

0.01 meters = 1 centimeter, not 10 namometers.

I'm guessing you were referring to micrometers, but if you had previewed you might have realized your mistake (7-10 orders of magnitude?) in trying to use formatting commands.

Your point and others about this spray not being nanotech is absolutley correct.

As for those who dismiss the idea that the problem may be related to the aerosol even though no problems were reported with the pump version, your blind faith in Ludd has been recopgnized. I hereby grant you the rank of Private in the Barbie Brigade ("Math is hard" platoon). If you will state a conclusion in direct opposition to facts plain enough for even you to state them clearly, then you will continue to allow your betters to think for you.("betters" in the purely feudal sense by the way).

Now, if you had instead said something like:

Although all of the reports have been from users of the aerosol product and none yet from the pump product, there should be further study to make sure that the problem is caused by the aerosol. If the actual problem does turn out to be inhaled nano particles, then the aerosol delivery system may be accelerating the onset of symptoms by increasing the concentration of inhalable nanoparticles when they are applied. Once applied, nanoparticles may be released back into the air over time. One possible delayed release method would be shockwaves propogated through the material the product is sprayed on. Such as a door closing. A good experiment would be to lock the marketers of the "nano spray" in a room liberally treated with their product and then subject the walls of that room to multiple shockwave effects (beating on the walls, slamming the doors repeatedly, and maybe playing loud music with a very heavy bass component).

One might also repeat the experiment with the manufacturers of the spray. To determine the "placebo" effect, run two more blind tests with nano-protestors - one group exposed to the nano spray and one group exposed to pine-scented air freshener.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 8 years ago | (#15095146)

So, what you're REALLY saying is the the people that get these ailments have a specific model of iPod in their lungs.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

Liam Slider (908600) | about 8 years ago | (#15094783)

The nanotech aspect may be relevant in that the small particle size would allow the spray to bypass the body's protection mechanisms and directly affect the alveoli. That would be consistent with the symptoms described. It's drawing a long bow to call it a nanotech hazard though.
By those sorts of arguments mere chemistry is "nanotechnology." When it's a nanomachine of some sort that has problems....then they get to make the claim about nanotech going awry.

Silicone (1)

mentaldingo (967181) | about 8 years ago | (#15094845)

"Silicone," eh?
You need to keep abreast of your spelling!

Re:Silicone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15095450)

> "Silicone," eh? You need to keep abreast of your spelling!

Indeed. The "Silicon Valley" is Santa Clara Valley. The "Silicone Valley" is San Fernando!

Definitely nanotech (2, Informative)

liquid stereo (602956) | about 8 years ago | (#15094508)

Believe it or not, but this is more nanotech than most of the "nanotech" that you hear/read about. I'm a scientist working in this area, and nanonparticles are not only one of the fundamental building blocks for nano-structured materials but are themselves the attention of scientists, researchers, and engineers working in a variety fields. They're useful for drug delivery, potential gene/protein delivery devices, biomedical imaging, paints, chemical/gas sensors, etc. They're also in all reconstituted orange juice. These concerns are real. Hyperbole and over-reaction on both sides doesn't serve the public.

And in your zeal to defend your profession... (1)

Naruki (601680) | about 8 years ago | (#15094521)

You completely missed the idea of the question. The "nanotech" of our fancy is tiny computers, preferably self-replicating and/or interoperating with other nanotech devices, being capable of DOING things.

This is just being nano-particles whose natural properties are being exploited, but not being programmed to do things deliberately.

Thinking the question hyperbole is missing the point.

Re:And in your zeal to defend your profession... (1)

he-sk (103163) | about 8 years ago | (#15094849)

quoting the gp: They're useful for drug delivery, potential gene/protein delivery devices, biomedical imaging, paints, chemical/gas sensors, etc.

nano tech != star trek

Re:And in your zeal to defend your profession... (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 years ago | (#15095400)

Your idea of nanotech will never exist outside of Star Trek. "Real nanotech" is the realm of chemistry, not mechanics, and nano-scale "robots" will do work by producing chemical catalysts that hook (or unhook) molecules together. Today those "robots" are called "cells" and the catalysts they produce are called "enzymes".

We may one day produce "nano robots" that are implemented differently than cells, but the principle will be the same. Realistically, we'll still use RNA to store the software, as we've put lots of work into tools to manipluate RNA already, and in most environments we'll have a cell wall built from lipids, and in general the "nano robot" will be very similar to a biological cell. After all, it's a proven and well-studied engineering design.

Re:Definitely nanotech (1)

liquid stereo (602956) | about 8 years ago | (#15094564)

"Our fancy"

Using "our" is pretty provincial.

I'm not defending anyone or anything. All I'm saying is that the definition of "nanotech" is quite varied.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

bigberk (547360) | about 8 years ago | (#15094556)

> how much of this product is actually related to nanotech?

Maybe you don't understand what nanotechnology is? It's a broad term that describes physical technology built at the nanometer scale. Particles and materials built from them on these small scales sometimes have useful properties that technology can exploit. The computer side of it is just an application of the small structures.

This story is about illness due to inhaled particles from a cleaning product. It's not clear to me whether the product actually made use of nanotechnology, that is, nanometer sized particles because of properties that were useful for the cleaner. It is quite possible that it did, on the other hand who knows where the term 'nano' entered the discussion -- perhaps it was just on product marketing?

Very difficult to know right now. Personally I would air on the side of caution and avoid internal exposure (eating, drinking, inhaling) to any materials containing newly discovered/manufactured nanoparticles, because it is possible such small unnatural particles have toxic or other undesirable affects on the human body. This is the same care I would take with exposure to any new material.

There are lots of poisons out there to begin with, again the question this story raises is are there new risks specifically associated with artificially made nanometer scaled particles as opposed to existing materials?

Vocabulary? (0, Flamebait)

Remedy_man (922349) | about 8 years ago | (#15094929)

It amazes me when people try to act so smart, and then make a error like using the word "air" instead of "err". If you can't tell the difference between those two words how can we really think you are competent enough to talk about Nano-sized technologies.

Re:Vocabulary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094943)

You just ended a question with a period. Oh my, hypocrisy abounds.

Re:Nanotech? (1)

bignickel (931486) | about 8 years ago | (#15095056)

Adding "Magic" to the front of your product name really does little for your credibility. This is a little reminiscent of another spray [j-walk.com].

Re:Nanotech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15095226)

Diamond Age, anyone???? If Crichton has credibility why not Stephenson?

Re:Nanotech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15095376)

What I wonder is, how much of this product is actually related to nanotech? Isn't it just some fancy spray with 'nano' slapped on the label?

If you're complaining that this product is not made out of the tiny machines that Eric Drexler promised you, then you should actually be glad. I'd rather have silicosis than be turned into gray goo.

a slashdot staple (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094441)

having headlines like "such and such technology goes slightly wrong. is this the END OF THE WORLD?!?!?!!!!"

i love it.

could be very good... (5, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | about 8 years ago | (#15094443)

One of the problems with the regulation of nano technology here in the UK is that when a product is deamed to be safe no new procedures have to be gone through in order to use the same product on a nano scale, but the impact which they could have could be completely different. I am a fan of nano technology but I see this case as a good thing, it will encourage greater testing and safety procedures whilst not turning people into anti-nano zealots because (thankfully on many levels) no one seems to have died.

Re:could be very good... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094464)

One of the problems with the regulation of nano technology here in the UK is that when a product is deamed to be safe no new procedures have to be gone through in order to use the same product on a nano scale

If it's at a completely different scale, manufactured in a different way, and acts in a different way, then it's not the same product, is it?

PS: it's "deemed", not "deamed".

Re:could be very good... (1)

pla (258480) | about 8 years ago | (#15094658)

If it's at a completely different scale, manufactured in a different way, and acts in a different way, then it's not the same product, is it?

Good question - And we don't have the answer to that yet.

Although an entirely different realm of products, consider CPUs... The earliest ones had features you could resolve under relatively low power magnification. As the individual features got smaller and smaller - Now quite literally nanoscale, literally smaller than you can resolve with traditional optical microscopy. As a result (or rather, of necessity), manufacturing them has gone from simple white-light optical photolithography to amazingly complicated assemblies of frequency-specific mirrors and filters that can deal with wavelengths approaching X-rays. The resulting structures created on the chip use (and in some cases, compensate for) aspects of the behavior of electrons that look more like magic than considering the chip just a traditional circuit composed of really small wires and transistors.

Should we consider modern CPUs an entirely different product from those made 30 years ago? In this case, aside from the performance, ignoring the scale, manufacturing techniques, and how it actually "works", I would tend to say "no". But we also have a very low risk of exposure to the nanoscale structures on a modern CPU - For one thing, they come well-packaged inside a nice airtight ceramic or metal package; for another, they tend to remain firmly attached to the chip itself.


But when it comes to products we consume, we wear, we eat off, we might even breathe in (which seems like the problem with this particular spray)? I welcome the addition of these incredible products to the world, but would very much like to see them thoroughly tested for safety first.

For the spray in question, it seems like almost a no-brainer... They've taken sand and made it small enough to get trapped deep in the lungs, small enough that our bronchial cillia can't effectively remove them, and then it acts just like any other particle that makes it that deep into the lungs - It causes irritation, reduction in respiratory efficiency, and most likely eventual scarring and permanant damage. This doesn't require a new mechanism, just that in the normal macroscale world, even in particularly risky environments, we only encounter a minute number of such particles.

Re:could be very good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094740)

Should we consider modern CPUs an entirely different product from those made 30 years ago?

Of course. You're using the word "product" to refer to a type of product. Whereas I, and the person I was responding to, were using the word "product" to refer to a specific item being sold.

Think about it - you don't certify an entire type of product to be safe, do you? A company can't, say, get the idea of "shampoo" certified as safe, they need to get specific formulae certified as safe.

In the analogy you are drawing, you might ask - if the latest 3Ghz processors are certified to be Vista-compatible, surely 386's are certified too? After all, they are the same sort of thing only less advanced.

Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns,, (2, Informative)

blankoboy (719577) | about 8 years ago | (#15094447)

I have been wondering why it is that we only hear all the cool and jazzy things related to nano-technology but nothing to address the concerns regarding it. What about the 'grey goop' and the studies that showed the effects of nano particles on fish? Frightening to say the least.

Yet we are all more concerned with getting a 100GB Flash based ipod, cars and clothes that don't ever need to be washed, etc etc.....

Safey first? Bah, $$$ first...

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (1, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | about 8 years ago | (#15094457)

I agree that safety isn't being considered here, but I sometimes wonder if it is possible to ensure complete safety regardless of how much effort one puts into it. Eric Drexler's Engines of Creation [amazon.com] , an exhaustive exploration of the possibilities and risks of nanotechnology, speculates about a grey goo [wikipedia.org] scenario where the exponential growth of out-of-control nanobots overtakes the world.

"Thus the first replicator assembles a copy in one thousand seconds, the two replicators then build two more in the next thousand seconds, the four build another four, and the eight build another eight. At the end of ten hours, there are not thirty-six new replicators, but over 68 billion. In less than a day, they would weigh a ton; in less than two days, they would outweigh the Earth; in another four hours, they would exceed the mass of the Sun and all the planets combined - if the bottle of chemicals hadn't run dry long before."

I'm all for Man improving his lot and vanquishing the terrible forces of Nature with technological prowess, but possibilities like this make me consider becoming a Luddite.

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (2, Informative)

Kream (78601) | about 8 years ago | (#15094468)

Many here will remember Crichton's "Prey", a book that details a nanotech swarm gone mad, and "infesting" a woman to such a degree that her husband, the protagonist, does not realise at first.

A critique of this fearmongering...

"...gray goo would be very difficult to design. It would be far more complex than a car--probably more complex than the Space Shuttle. General Motors recently made headlines by taking only a few months to design a car. It's completely implausible that a failing company could create an evolving gray goo by re-engineering a specialized product in a matter of weeks; this same company couldn't even solve the relatively simple problem of keeping the swarm together in a breeze. Remember that the swarm-bots don't directly replicate; they are built by assemblers using bacterial chemicals. Among other tasks, the scientists would have had to rapidly invent a way to transfer the evolved program out of the successful swarm-bots and feed it back into the assemblers or the bacteria to produce the next generation. This would require a completely new set of molecular machinery."
Full critique available here [snipurl.com]

Prey was a stupid book (1)

tjstork (137384) | about 8 years ago | (#15095062)

Come on, you had this guy getting chased by this "nano-cloud". I read that and I was immediately reminded of 50's era atomic test monster movies.

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (3, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 8 years ago | (#15094469)

At the end of ten hours, there are not thirty-six new replicators, but over 68 billion.
And then their "food" in the petri dish runs out, and the next morning a scientist takes care of the problem with a spray can of "Nano-b-gone". Don't lose any sleep over it... there are plenty of real dangers of nanotech to worry about, such as the one cited in the main article.

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094559)

>
> [...] but I sometimes wonder if it is possible to ensure
> complete safety regardless of how much effort one puts into it.
>

There is no such thing as safety, as there is no such thing as certainty.

AFAIC, I would prefer living in a more simple world, without all this "high-technology" (like in all those Fantasy novels, but without the political problems), because I feel it is adding more and more uncertainty to the world.

Still, I work as a Webmaster, depending on computers for my living...

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094600)

Really, this "grey goo" concern is very silly. If such a thing could occur it would have evolved.

It's bloody hard to eat rocks or metal and get energy out of them (required to reproduce).

Nanotech does offer the possibility of custom-designed, more effective flesh-eating-bacteria style nanobots, but so does genetic engineering and we'll likely get to that level with genetics before we do with nano assemblers. Assemblers are damn hard.

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094868)

>Really, this "grey goo" concern is very silly. If such a thing could occur it
>would have evolved.

Right! Because if rocket engines were possible, they would have evolved. No wait...

Artificial structures can do things that nature can't because they are not bound by the constraints of evolution. Evolution is limited to proteins and genes, and can only move through continously working phase space. It's that irreducible complexity thing that Intelligent Design propnents speak about. Evolution or no evolution, nanomachines will be designed. Hopefully intelligently, although I have my doubts.

>It's bloody hard to eat rocks or metal and get energy out of them (required to
>reproduce).

This is, of course, Slashdot, but if you ever go outside and it happens to be a day you might notice this big ball of gases undergoing fusion reaction, ie. The Sun. This is an energy source right there.

That's why we need space colonisation (1, Interesting)

ElMiguel (117685) | about 8 years ago | (#15094646)

I'm serious. Sooner or later man will begin experimenting with technology where there is a real danger of unforeseen cascade effects accidentally destroying all life on Earth. If we're lucky the fatal accident will not happen, but I think the *risk* is unavoidable.

We're not at that technological point yet, but we're only getting closer. At least, we should make sure that if something goes badly humanity will not be completely wiped out.

Re:That's why we need space colonisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094769)

>
> At least, we should make sure that if something goes badly
> humanity will not be completely wiped out.
> ... or *maybe* we should stop before that, think, and start a new society from the beginning, without all these problems... We don't need baka politics, psyops, RFID tags, VeriChip, nanotechs, junk food, going into space, developping weapons, armies, nuclear centrals, a polluted earth, etc. to be happy... I assure you.

Re:That's why we need space colonisation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094863)

Yeah, and while you're just believing in wild speculation, you ought to watch out for those newfangled picture-making devices. They will steal your soul!

Re:That's why we need space colonisation (1)

lgw (121541) | about 8 years ago | (#15095475)

You're young enough to have not grown up Fearing The Bomb, aren't you? Never under your desk in a drill? Never heard the air-raid sirens tested weekly in your city?

Cascade effects destroying all life on Earth isn't some future worry, my young friend. Some of us grew up with it. You're far, far, safer now while there's only one nulear superpower, and the threat of accidental nuclear oblivion is, for the momemt, gone.

Meanwhile, the combined restrictions of conservation of energy and mutation make grey goo a non-issue. (Sure, it's quite possible to get energy from sunlight. Consider every creature you've even seen that does so. There's a reason they're the bottom of the food chain.)

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (1)

Autochthonous Lagomo (962003) | about 8 years ago | (#15094822)

This has long been considered to be an overly drastic and highly unlikely doomsday scenario, fit more for science fiction than scientific speculation.

Just like 'robots will take over the world,' as you have mentioned, the idea of 'grey goo' is just a form of Ludditism. Obviously you've gotten over the irrational fear that your computer will rise up and take over the world with AI, so it's time to do the same with such antiquated prejudices about newer technologies that you can't understand as easily.

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15095097)

> Just like 'robots will take over the world,' as you have mentioned, the idea of 'grey goo' is just a form of Ludditism.
> Obviously you've gotten over the irrational fear that your computer will rise up and take over the world with AI, so
> it's time to do the same with such antiquated prejudices about newer technologies that you can't understand as easily.

Exactly, there's nothing to be alarmed at. Please go back to your normal shopping...

And if you're still reading, consider all the other fears of the past that have turned out to be completely unfounded like global warming, population bomb, lack of drinking water and pollution. See, all of these concerns are provably false as well. Well, as long as proof just means "we're not all dead yet".

There's a crucial flaw in that logic (1)

5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) | about 8 years ago | (#15095420)

Where the hell is the nanotech going to procure the energy and materials to duplicate itself that fast? THAT will definitely limit it.

Re:Nanotech bounding forth with no safety concerns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094495)

Let me rephrase what you are saying:

Why don't we hear any bad stuff? What about bad stuff X and bad stuff Y?

Well doesn't your comment go to show that we do hear about the bad stuff? Otherwise your comment would be:

Why don't we hear any bad stuff? What about... um... um...

repeat: Nano technology is evil! (5, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | about 8 years ago | (#15094448)

First, the scratches and broken screens on iPod Nano and now this!

Time to register some nanotech-related domains (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 8 years ago | (#15094449)

I'm sure the lawyers of the future would be eager to pay good money for them.

September 2005 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094461)

that is when the governamenr started NIOSH prioject

since it is the firs: time it pops up in SlafhdIdt , I dare to Say that they are going to drag it as usual

Will Nano particles become the next asbestos? (2, Interesting)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 8 years ago | (#15094462)

Allowing nano scale particulates to be released in the home seems like a foolhardy way to save a bit of time.
I like the principle of nano tech, especially in embedded applications (like within a ceramic chip casing) but spraying it around just screams of stupidity.

People should just clean their windows manually, a good cloth can be found here [ubuntu.com].

Nanotech = negative image (5, Interesting)

Zouden (232738) | about 8 years ago | (#15094463)

I wonder how long until the word "nanotech" falls out of favour because it becomes associated with dangerous "science gone too far".

We aren't even nearly at the stage of nanomachines ("grey goop"), yet I imagine the public is beginning to feel that everything with the nano-prefix is dangerous. Soon companies and scientists will start using other words to describe the technology. This is fine with me - I actually think that a lot of "nanotechnology" could be better described with other words (same with AI).

Re:Nanotech = negative image (1)

zalas (682627) | about 8 years ago | (#15094498)

So, in other words, given enough bad publicity, "nanotech" ends up suffering the same fate as "nuclear"? Though, it would be interesting to see the nano equivalent of nukulear... "If I am elected president, I vow to stop all development of nay-no-tech technology!"

Re:Nanotech = negative image (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094592)

>
> given enough bad publicity, "nanotech" ends up suffering
> the same fate as "nuclear"?
>

What fate? Critiqued but always used more...? Sadly, nuclear centrals, nuclear weapons, etc. are here for long :/ ... probably as long as most people will believe the future is made of "new things" (if humankind hasn't disappeard until then -which wouldn't be surprising).

Re:Nanotech = negative image (1)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | about 8 years ago | (#15094788)

As is the term "genetic engineering", but both that and "nuclear" have developed negative connotations over time from an initially positive standpoint. I think this is the point the grandparent was trying to make, and you seem to have missed.

Re:Nanotech = negative image (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094544)

Silly boy.
Magic Nano spray is powerfully cleansing, easy to apply, and "will benefit the environment, as treated surfaces can be cleaned without the use of detergents, specialist machines and copious amounts of water."

If there is any 'grey goop' around, a few squirts of Magic Nano will have it cleared up right away!

Re:Nanotech = negative image (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094579)

>
> yet I imagine the public is beginning to feel that everything
> with the nano-prefix is dangerous
>

The public don't read Slashdot and similar websites... For the general public, nanotechs still are really far... They just heard about it two or three times in the news... Ask a few people in the streets, most won't even be able to give you any example of use... they just remember "it is something very small"...

Re:Nanotech = negative image (1)

Alef (605149) | about 8 years ago | (#15094605)

We aren't even nearly at the stage of nanomachines ("grey goop")

I think you are referring to grey goo [wikipedia.org]. (Which is an end-of-the-world scenario involving self-replicating nanomachines running amok, in case someone here didn't know that already.)

Re:Nanotech = negative image (1)

UserGoogol (623581) | about 8 years ago | (#15095000)

Hmm. Maybe Nanotech needs an Asimov. I mean, the word "robot" was invented to refer to technology gone too far, and yet nowadays it's treated as something "pretty neat" and futuristic. We need someone willing to beat the shit out of the Frankenstein Complex.

Re:Nanotech = negative image (1)

khallow (566160) | about 8 years ago | (#15095009)

We haven't gotten a good anti-nanotech movie or a good nanotech scary accident yet. For example, the US nuclear industry got hammered by the movie "The China Syndrome" [wikipedia.org] coming out at the same time that the Three Mile Island [wikipedia.org] accident happened.

What i'm waiting for (2, Funny)

lucaq99 (898345) | about 8 years ago | (#15094484)

I can't wait until i can get a nano iPod Nano. I wonder if that will be dangerous if inhaled...

Any particulate is potentially harmful to lungs (4, Insightful)

XNormal (8617) | about 8 years ago | (#15094514)

Any particulate is potentially harmful to lungs. Even the most benign materials. Our lungs are designed to breathe gas, not solids.

Nano is just the latest example of that.

Re:Any particulate is potentially harmful to lungs (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 8 years ago | (#15094554)

Any particulate is potentially harmful to lungs. Even the most benign materials. Our lungs are designed to breathe gas, not solids.

And this is why I wonder why the US keeps rejecting the Kyoto protocol. I'm not excusing nanotech, of course - we should be careful when handling that stuff.

Re:Any particulate is potentially harmful to lungs (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 8 years ago | (#15094618)

Where does the Kyoto Protocol come in on this ? It's neither a global-warming gas nor an ozone-depleting substance...

Methinks you're barking up the wrong tree here. .

kyoto was just lame (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094669)

it is because it allowed those huge developing nations to ALSO "reject" kyoto, as in burn all the crap coal they want, no scrubbers, etc, while other nations had to do massive clean air hoop jumping..WTF was that???? Pretty darn easy to sign on to thing if you don't have to follow the same rules as the other signees.

It is a good idea to come to a world wide consensus on pollution in general, very few people would disagree on that, but kyoto was a bad design for that goal. People didn't reject the idea, they rejected that particular implementation of that idea.

And let's go even simpler and directly to the main point, china has more than enough "trade advantage" now,they don't need ANY hand holding to develop their manufacturing capacity and "drag themselves up by the bootstraps". That's why you saw almost total rejection of it in the US senate, even the most dedicated of environmental senators could see through that particular scam, it was just lame.

The US has gone pretty far with enviro regs in the last 25 years, not that we can't do better, we are WAY ahead of a boatload of other nations in that regard, and another cubic boatload of R&D for alternative energy and whatnot is going on here, from new cool battery tech to solar to wind projects to even "clean coal" tech where they leave the coal underground and just extract the methane, which leaves most of the bad stuff in situ. It's not perfect, but the US gets a bad rap which is mostly underserved with that kyoto disaster.

We have crippled our economy enough from kow towing to second and third world nations so they can "develop", we run trade imbalances larger than a lot of entire nations GDP, if that isn't enough for them to "develop", then I say bring back huge tariffs and let those places see how they like it that way again. We aren't going to cripple our economy any longer, that is a recognized "man in the street" notion now.

I am fully in favor of conservation, alternative energy, clean air and water, etc, but enough is enough on the US bashing on this subject, if you actually look to see what we do over second and third world posturing their arguments are a lot of hot air. Let them clean up their own crap before they start pointing fingers. I could go down a huge list of large second and third world cities where their air pollution is SO bad that you can't hardly see down the block, no US city is that bad any longer, and that's because we have been cleaning up our act, slowly but surely. But we can't do it if our economy collapses from subsidising THE REST OF THE PLANET just to say we "signed on" to some treaty.

Re:Any particulate is potentially harmful to lungs (0)

wes33 (698200) | about 8 years ago | (#15094563)

Last I heard, air was *made* of nano-particles.
They are called molecules, and yes, some of them are dangerous.

The Jason Blair Purge Technique (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094519)

1. There's a problem

2. Get rid of it

3. All is well

Or

1. A guy writes false stories

2. Insiders expose him to to world and fire him

3. Now that we've purged the bad, all is well. And here's the delivery: the NYTimes is an honest source of information once again, a totally bogus assumption.

Thus:

1. Nanotech gone awry

2. Fix the problem. Make some rules.

3. All is well with nanotech. Everything is under control.

Uh, yeah, but what about some ironclad laws banning the clandestine use of nanotech against humans? That's what the above technique is designed to avoid.

Borg spam (2, Funny)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 8 years ago | (#15094523)

I dunno. I look forward to getting my first spam hawking nanites that will migrate through my body and increase the size of my m4nh00d.

What does the warning label on the can say? (5, Funny)

TEMMiNK (699173) | about 8 years ago | (#15094530)

WARNING! Use of this product may cause side effects!
* Inhalation of this product may lead to the reconstitution of internal organs into basic geometric shapes.

But I mean.. thats ok right? At least they are telling you...

Silicosis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094565)

I think the thing that would most worry me is long term exposure to a silica "nano" spray. If this really has small silica and silicon particles, long term use could lead to silicosis.

Re:Silicosis (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | about 8 years ago | (#15094584)

In my humble opinion, products with nanoparticles shouldn't be allowed in spray presentations. Not only because of use, but because we're practically carrying chemical bombs into supermarkets. If a common spray explodes, well, there's the obvious physical (and maybe chemical) damage, but what happens if the products has nanoparticles? It could mean permanent damage with nanoparticles, who knows if this would result in cancer / silicosis / chronical lung damage / younameit.

Re:Silicosis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094628)

IPF http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulmonary_fibrosis/ [wikipedia.org]is a horrible thing to watch someone try to live with. Imagine a 4-8 year strangulation. Also, note the inorganic causes, while not 100% assured of contraction from exposure, why risk it? Oh, and it's usually fatal within 5 years of diagnosis. The good news is that those with it are eligable for a lung transplant because it is not cancerious. The bad? Life expectancy for tranplant patients is average 5yrs, high end 10.

Re:Silicosis (1)

TavisJohn (961472) | about 8 years ago | (#15095115)

Exactly! They could use a much safer (And more profitable) pre-moistened toilette. It is disposable, and there is no airborne garbage to worry about!

Nanotechnology is just a buzzword (3, Insightful)

Pigeon451 (958201) | about 8 years ago | (#15094603)

We've been using nanotech for years, the media and industry have decided that it's "cool" and hype it. Nanotech takes the crown away from microtechnology. In 20 years, picotech will be the next buzzword. :)

Re:Nanotechnology is just a buzzword (1)

iotaborg (167569) | about 8 years ago | (#15094854)

Well, 'pico' tech would essentially refer to the atomic/subatomic scale; we already have a word for that - Quantum.

Devilery method (1)

Timberwolf0122 (872207) | about 8 years ago | (#15094622)

It would seem it was only the areosole that caused the re-action, my guess is that when spreyed via an areosole more of the nano-particles endup in the atmosphere in the cloud of atomised solution, where as a hand spray tends to have a larger droplet size and less nano material is left floating.

Still it makes for an interesting concern.

Pledge polish can cause chemical pneumonia (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15094666)

If you inhale it while you're dusting the furniture. I suspect this "nanotech" problem may be similar. There is lots of stuff already out there that can cause problems if the stuff gets in your lungs.

New nano risk! (4, Funny)

NixLuver (693391) | about 8 years ago | (#15094693)

There is a nanoparticle produced by many modern devices that is deadly to humans. In concentrations as low as 1600ppm, it can cause death in two hours or less, and it's only TWO ATOMS ACROSS! It's called, oddly enough, "CO", and it's colorless, tasteless, and odorless. The FDA should require nano-labels on each nanodangerous nanoparticle! They are putting us at risk every day!

TFA says that nobody involved knows if the product *actually* contains 'nano technology'... It's chemistry, peeps... I doubt this stuff is assembled with SEMs. Really!

Vas ist los? (5, Funny)

craXORjack (726120) | about 8 years ago | (#15094990)

Ich sprayen die "Nano Magic" ohnen die stain und zuddenly ze bottel becommen part auf mein handen! Und mein monocle fuzen to meinen eye zocket! Was ist happenung to mir? Und die voices. Where kommen sie frommen? Und vas ist dies "Kollectiv"? Stoppen mit die sprechen voicen! Nein, nein, Ich nicht funf von sieben! Gott in Himmel, ich must kontacten diese authorities schnell...

Nothing a brickbat wouldn't solve (1)

gregor-e (136142) | about 8 years ago | (#15095271)

We just need to persuade journalists that wherever they see "nano", they should simply replace it with "chemical". Okay, that might cause some consternation when reporting on the iPod model, but I say that's a small price to pay for more accurate reporting the other 99.9% of the time. Until controlled-assembly Molecular Nano Technology (MNT) comes along, there's no point distinguishing nano-meter-sized chemicals from, uh, chemicals.

This is still all just hype (2, Informative)

argoff (142580) | about 8 years ago | (#15095340)

The truth still is that there are a lot of huge entrenched industries that see nanotech as a competitive threat and are desperate to regulate it before it eats into their revenue stream. Just ignore this, it is just another trumpet horning in the wind. It is just another excuse looking for a problem to regulate. Compaired to the potential benefits that nanotech has to offer, problems like these are like the hairline scratch on a 3 ton statue of gold. The nano age is here to stay like it or not.

Melamine foam? (1)

mmontour (2208) | about 8 years ago | (#15095471)

A related question (though at micron scales rather than nano) - does anyone know how safe those "magic eraser" cleaning sponges are? They are an open-cell melamine foam [wikipedia.org] that gradually breaks down as it is used.

I don't know the size of the particles that break off and get washed down the drain, but given the hardness of the material it seems that they could be hazardous to anything that ingested them (filter-feeding aquatic organisms, fish's gills, and so on). Does anyone know if there have been studies to see how far these particles get in the environment, how long it takes them to break down chemically, etc?
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