Are nanomaterials dangerous?

Author's Note

Of course scientists, chemists, researchers, engineers and inventors want to focus on the positive points of new and potentially terrifying technology. And it's true; there are a few positive aspects of nanomaterials. They can be used to engineer incredibly strong and light new structures, and that's cool. The impact on the automotive industry alone shows quite a bit of promise, and if you want to make me stop fretting about, say, being slowly poisoned by my new lip gloss, or the threat potential bioterrorist attacks, just enter my peripheral vision in a really fast or interesting new car.

In the course of my research for this article, I found out about a company called Catalytic Clothing that was founded by a former fashion designer. The fashion industry is almost as interesting as makeup and vehicles, so I was intrigued by Catalytic Clothing's idea to embed our clothes with nanoparticles -- a good kind! -- that will actually remove pollution from the air as we walk around. The concept is this: If we have to move around anyway, we might as well help the environment at the same time. For every mile you drive your car, consider how much work it'll take to clean up that pollution. And perhaps for every dangerous nanoparticle that's made, there will be a positive counterpart.

Related Articles


  • Associated Press. "How Safe are Nanoparticles?" Dec. 11, 2005. (June 11, 2012)
  • Catalytic Clothing. (June 11, 2012)
  • Levin, David. "The Dangers of Nanotech." NOVA. Jan. 13, 2011. (June 11, 2012)