As an international community, we face both the excitement and the challenge that arise with a new technology. With nanotechnology already touching most industries—from medicine to textiles to electronics—the potential for transformational benefits may reach further than revolutionary technologies of the past. At the same time, the challenge of understanding potential risks that nanomaterials and nanoproducts may pose to human health and the environment is critical. We must take complementary steps to resolve environmental, health and safety issues that might otherwise deprive us of many anticipated social and economic benefits, as nanotechnologies progress from the laboratory to the global marketplace. Report from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies looks at how tools such as Life Cycle Assessment can determine environmental impacts at various stages in a new nanotechnology product's life cycle.
Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies on PewHealth.org.