Nanotechnology: the giddiness of the infinitely small, the oxides of zirconium in the dental toxic

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LeMondeDiplomatique manifesto ... ... ... Atomic-scale industry Nanotechnology: the giddiness of the infinitely small The nano technology is the great danger "Zirconium / a" Without fanfare, the nano-technology - a set of techniques for working the material atom by atom - have entered our daily lives. Are already used in DVD players, cars, etc.. Is a new tech bubble? Although there have already invested billions of dollars, yet not much is known on the possible health impact or, more generally, on the ethical risks that surround this research. Dorothée Benoit-Browaeys The term 'nano' is a great enigma nebulous. Almost magical. It is difficult to know exactly what it encompasses. Indicate any search or manipulation at the nanoscale (one billionth of a meter)? A huge marketing operation to rename, under the flag of the seductive 'borders of the infinitely small, the physical chemistry of materials? Or is this a project that brings together associations technosciences of matter, life, information? The fact is that the nano-materials are here among us, already marketed in the form of nano-tubes, carbon nano-laser DVD players, nano-chips for biological diagnosis ... It is thought to "molecular factories "with carriers, articulated arms, conveyor belts of a size a hundred thousand times smaller than the diameter of a hair. Observe the matter, and work on the atomic scale, is a fascinating skyline of promising innovations. The dream is certain to 'redo what life has done, but in our own way, in the words of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1987, Jean-Marie Lehn. There are also those who argue that the technique is to take over Darwinian evolution, to take in hand the destiny of mankind ... But the enthusiasm is tinged with anxiety when certain scientific visionaries such as Eric Drexler, come to fear the worst The loss of control by humans on nano-robots capable of reproducing and devour space. In fact, the idea of manipulating atoms, the constituent elements of matter, has become reality. The scanning tunneling microscope (1), developed in 1982, has allowed this "zoom of the atom in the universe" that "engineering Lilliput ', capable of moving atoms at will. The prospects of a "molecular manufacturing", aired by Eric Drexler in Engines of Creation (2), we are open. It begins to manufacture carts, vacuum cleaners, auto molecular transistors to a single atom, quantum computers (3), etc.. Around the "heart of the trade, gravity all sorts of other technologies which are derived or miniaturization, or, this time starting from below, from a reorganization of the molecular origin of unusual physical and chemical properties. While on a macroscopic scale dominates the collective effect of millions of atoms, isolating nano-objects, made only a few atoms, particular behavior may occur: increasing exchange surfaces (increased reactivity), mechanical strength, functions, optical, electromagnetic or thermal ... than the chemical nature of the material, and the spatial organization of atoms becomes crucial. Of the unknown potential of emergent properties, some predict the revolution, some continuity. Even today, all major production sectors - electronics, textiles, healthcare, food or energy - are affected by this hurricane technology. The automotive group Daimler-Benz sells cars equipped with reinforcements to the brakes or engine parts made of carbon nano-tubes, a hundred times stronger than steel and six times lighter; IBM transistor produces a hundred thousand times thinner than a hair , researchers at Cornell University, the United States, or the Institut Curie in France, realize molecular motors. Even the cosmetic industry for some years, uses nano-particles of zinc oxide to produce more resistant lipsticks, of titanium oxide to filter out ultraviolet rays, or powdered zirconium (zirconia) for nail polish. For many industrial giants, the submicron-scale production (below one millionth of a meter) is a condition of survival. Sony as St Microelectronics (associated with Motorola and Philips Semiconductors International BV) have just invested 1.5 billion euros for the production of semi-conductors worked less than 90 nanometers. In textiles, the projects include metallic fibers that can contain energy or integrate sensors. The nano-materials can also improve the efficiency of energy systems, allowing to store hydrogen or provide effective thermal barriers. As regards health, nano-beads can form new 'vehicles' in terms of active, free in-situ heating infrared or magnetic field. Applications in the field of biometrics systems or nomadic miniaturized information are increasing, even if they are still on the micrometer scale. Last year, the company Applied Digital has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (the U.S. authority on medical conditions) for his "medical embedded chips," which became implanted under the skin and transmits, via the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification, Radio-frequency identification), the patient's complete medical history. "The nano-industry is an emerging industry, but a range of means to manipulate matter and materials make existing adaptive (smart) and hybrid (electronic acidic half and half organic)," says Stephen Baker economists and Adam Aston (4). This should give space to new fields of research, enabling the restructuring of many industries, as happened with computer science, electronics and biotechnology. Early progress are biomaterials, catalysts, diagnostics and electronics. Different disciplines should merge in order to act better in the interface between living and inanimate matter, the meeting point of chemistry, electronics, genetics and even neurological sciences. The investments are not made to wait. In 2005, the global effort (academic and industrial) for nano-technologies was estimated at 9 billion dollars by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) American, according to an almost equal distribution between the countries in Asia, Europe and North America. From 1998 to 2003, public investment has been multiplied by six in Europe, eight in the U.S. and Japan. The world market for these technologies, which already $ 40 billion in 2001, should reach, according to the National Science Foundation (NSF), the 1,000 billion per year in 2010 (5). The train of nano-technology and therefore the party. However, it still ignores all the impact of these technologies on health (6). What happens when the carbon nano-tubes dispersed in the air are inhaled, or when particles of titanium oxide is applied on the skin as sunscreen? The nano-materials are not a homogeneous group of substances. Particles can vary in size, shape, size, chemical composition, biological persistence. In any case, are always very responsive. In an article entitled "Nano-technology: we pay attention to where we going?" Which presents the work carried out on toxicological nano-objects, the toxicologist American Ernie Hood shows worrying results (7), particularly certain inflammatory reactions in lung tissue exposed to nano-particles of carbon, studied by the researcher Günter Oberdorster, University of Rochester (USA). Improving human performance Already, two concerns arise: first, the nano-powders - Extremely fine - can spread to all areas of the body, pulmonary alveoli, blood, and even cross the blood-brain barrier that protects the brain. The British toxicologist Vyvyan Howard has highlighted the problem, demonstrating that the gold nano-particles can cross the placental barrier and therefore transport of compounds from mother to fetus. Second, the shape of nano-products may cause toxic effects. As asbestos fibers, including carbon nano-tubes could be fixed in the lungs and cause cancer. What complicates the characterization of possible health impacts is not known with precision nano-products that are manufactured. Often composed of a mixture of nano-fibers, nano-particles and different catalysts (aluminum or iron), the nano-tubes already on the market seem to have much more serious inflammatory effects at least are purified. Physics dictionary Ann Bowling, who led the report devoted to nano-technologies of the Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering, published in July 2004, asked the industrialists to "restrict exposures to nano-tubes, to disclose the toxicological test their possession and to do extensive research to study the biological impacts (8). Currently, twenty companies in the developed world is already a pilot production of carbon nano-tubes, taking various precautions ... "We work in overalls, hooded under a hood and pressurized atmosphere," says Pascal Pierron, director of the company based in Nanoledge Montpellier. The direction of the research division of Saint-Gobain plans to hold up work deemed too risky. For its part, Patrice Gaillard, head of the project for Arkema nano-tubes and running a pilot project in Pau, in January 2005 announced: "In 2007, we will start to produce several hundred tons per year (9). The British Academy has addressed the problem head on by giving twenty-one recommendations. The report's authors want to avoid the dissemination of nano-particles and nano-tubes, but they also want to gather a data base on toxicity, bioaccumulation and exposure to specific populations of different environments. Recommend raising the awareness of researchers and laboratory staff on ethical and social risks and to involve citizens. At the legislative level, feel that it ensure that the control of nano-technology is completely framed by the legislation existing or future. The affair promises to be difficult, given how difficult it is already in the field of chemistry, making scanning those toxic effects. Indeed it is noted that the ambitions of the European regulation REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorization reference of Chemicals), which called to assess the impact on health or environment of thirty chemicals (ie 30% of all industrial products), were revised downwards by the will of the lobby. The licensing systems for substances must be thoroughly reviewed: in fact based solely on the description of the chemical composition of products (EINECS European inventory or inventory worldwide CAS). But with nano-materials is not enough, because it was the spatial organization of their atomic elements that can trigger biological effects (including carcinogenic). The position of insurers, however, reveals how brutally extended uncertainty. In 2004, the company Swiss Re has warned against travel to nano-technologies recalling "the unpredictable nature of risks present, and the recurrent and cumulative losses that can result (10). Even lobbyists are aware of the risk that an "incident involving nano-particles not only trigger a defensive reflex against the material in question, but perhaps also in relation to nanotechnology in general (11). Since huge investments have already been made, everyone wants to believe that the risks are minimal and mostly controllable. University Rice (Houston, USA), the focal point of reflection on the impact of nano-technology, research Kristen Kulinowski is optimistic. "If we can control the surface properties, we can prevent the toxic effects," he hopes. Just like Sean Murdock, NanoBusiness Alliance Director of American industrial organization, which recognizes that 'the risks are there, are real, but they are manageable. " It is true that European and American have started many programs on health risks, but it certainly will not go more than 3 maximum 6% of the budget "nano." Some, like the sociologist Chateauraynaud Francis (EHESS), wondering about the possible convergence between biotechnology, physical chemistry, computer science and cognitive science. "It remains to be seen whether all these operations do not live for basically the only magic word and the guarantee offered by official speeches," he says in his report, "Nanoscience and tecnoprofezie '(12). Others, however, speak of Bang (acronym for byte, atoms, neurons and genes) to designate this interdisciplinary approach that could allow self-organization phenomena or replication. For them, open the gates to the unknown, unpredictable ... It's terra incognita. Fascinating perspective, Americans assign a target, "improving human performance." In a report on nano-bio-info-cogniciences (Nbic) appeared in June 2002, NSF describes converging technologies as a means "to enable universal level material wealth and spiritual, peaceful and mutually beneficial interaction between humans and intelligent machines, the complete disappearance of obstacles to communication generally, particularly those arising from the diversity of languages, access to inexhaustible energy source, the end of the concerns about environmental degradation (13). This course fosters a powerful "economy of the promise" and enrolled in the current transhumanist ideologically supported by one of the authors, William Sims Bainbridge, a sociologist of religion and director of information and control systems of the NSF. The movement defends freedom in the use of drugs and medicines, the cryopreservation of the body and the brain or gene doping. Use technology as a panacea for solving social problems and human rights, more insidiously medicalized. Faced with the problematic official American position in September 2004, the European Community has published a "response" in a report titled "Converging Technologies for a European knowledge society" (14). The authors argue that the nano technologies must be human and non-economic objectives, contribute to building the "knowledge society, facilitating transport and create" collaborators "to serve the public interest." "The divergence appeared very clearly in the conference NanoEthics which was held in March 2005 at the University of South Carolina," says Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent, professor of philosophy of science at Paris X and author of a reflection on ghosts that wander around the new technologies (15). "It is true that there is one part of the euphoria Drexler and apostles such as Ray Kurzweil, by their very behavior that takes up all the messianic rhetoric of a religious nature and, secondly, an apocalyptic catastrophe. I would say that the limit, these antagonistic positions reinforce each other and come to converge (...). Beyond that, the nano-technology is an opportunity, a tremendous opportunity to finally ask about techniques, on their way, their development, their implications and, if possible, propose a public debate. "The author insists on the ambivalence of scientists, who claim to control their products at the same time when looking for unusual substances, uncontrolled. It is urgent to think about the possible, assessing the effects of nano-products that are still virtual. From this point of view, the fiction that creates scenarios in direct contact with the speeches of visionary scientists is one of the possible keys of the debate. So long, it is anticipated the threat of nano-robots, equipment or machines self-organizing and self-replicating assemblers that we saw deceived and reproduce in Engines of Creation by Eric Drexler, or be able to take control of brain enemy destruction remote control in the novel by Neal Stephenson L'Age du diamant, or even turn into a "jelly gray that devours everything in Prey by Michael Crichton (16). Faced with the ethical and health risks, the Canadian Association "Erosion, Technology and the concentration (ETC Group), whose vigilance in biotechnology and equitable North-South has already spread over the nano-technologies, requests the establishment of a International Convention for the evaluation of new technologies (Icent) under the aegis of the United Nations. In a report on "Nano-geopolitics," which appeared on 28 July, Pat Mooney, director of the group, argues that we must end the "cycle of crisis" and devise, with the Treaty Icent, "an alarm or control quote able to test any new technology is important. " Had already raised the alarm on patents in the field of nano-technologies, may inevitably slip into "hoarding by some private industries, the building blocks of matter." Grow without discussion (unless some interactions with civil society, made in Britain and the United States at Madison), nano-technologies are at great risk of being hindered by the protest movements, as in Grenoble, where the former journalist Actuel, Yannick Blanc, promoter group Pièces et Main d'Oeuvre (PMO) [Elements and labor] makes every lump to denounce the 'expropriation technology' (17). Indeed, following the example of the strategy of deception of the public already used with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are increasingly felt "serene" who praise the nano-technologies for poor countries (18). These critical points are addressed seriously in the intergovernmental framework founded in June 2004 in Alexandria (Virginia), by the will of NSF and the Meridian Institute. About sixty representatives from twenty-five countries - including China, Japan, Russia, Australia, Israel, India and South Africa - gathered to form an "International Advisory Office for nano-science manager." Françoise Roure, representative of France, in February 2005 handed to the ministers of industry and research report, written with philosopher Jean-Pierre Dupuy, entitled "Ethics and prospective industrielle" [Ethics and industry perspective] that proposes thirteen recommendations, including the need for a European social phenomena of nano-technologies. "The model of society with their values, the sense of the objectives and priorities that are given and limits are fixed, they are vulnerable to the meta-industrial convergence, the authors note. The artificial transformation of nature has shown the limits of its acceptability with the sometimes violent reactions against GMOs (...). What about the process of naturalization rights (...) if we become artifacts, scientific products that can be processed, refined, economizers, exploited by using the laws of nature? "The most worrying is the presence of 'fascinated by technology' as physicist Ray Kurzweil or transhumanist philosopher Nick Bostrom, at think tanks intended to guide the future as the center for responsible nanotechnology (19). On the military side, the power of nano-instruments or systems capable of causing death independently represents a real danger of domination: nearly half of American public investment (ie $ 445 million in 2004) was used for military purposes . Coatings that protect or relief, nano-weapons, intelligence installed, mobilize to China, in Shanghai, which has a center two-thousand-strong nano-research scientists. According to the German physicist Jürgen Altmann (20), the greatest risks arise from cracks in the procedures of mutual deterrence (inability to control weapons irrivelabili) and the ability of self-replicating nano-devices. notes: * Journalist and President of Vivagora. (1) That earned him the 1996 Nobel prize to its inventors Richard Smalley, Harry Kroto and Robert Curl. (2) Published in English in 1986, trans. en. on-line at: pballegati / Engines% 20of% 20Creation_ITA.pdf. (3) computer capable of making a billion calculations in parallel, which enables, for example, to destroy any code. (4) "The Business of Nanotech," BusinessWeek online, 14 February 2005. (5) Gilles Le Marois and Dominique Carlac'h, "Les nanomatériaux au ciuro de la galaxie nano 'in Les Nanotechnologies, Les Annales des Mines, series' Réalités industrielles, February 2004. (6) "nano-world: et si l'on parlait de sécurité sanitaire", in André Cicolella and Dorothée Benoit Browaeys, Alertes Santé, Experts et citoyens face aux intérêts privés, Fayard, Paris, May 2005. Read also "Nanotechnologies: une analyze préliminaire des risques" (in English), available at (7) Envrironmental Haelth Prospectives vol. 112, No. 13, September 2004, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Arley (South Carolina), September 2004, (8) Conference on 26 May 2005 in Le développement responsable des Nanotechnologies' at the Embassy of Great Britain in Paris. (9) In this seminar, the Observatoire des Micro et Nanotechnologies, 27 January 2005, in Paris. (10) "Nanotechnology: Small matter, many unknowns, Swiss Reinsurance Company. Zurich, 2004. (11) Nouvelle Cordis, July 8, 2005 - http:// (12) Francis Chateauraynaud «Nanosciences et technoprophéties. The nano-world matrix dans des futurs »Gspr EHESS-Paris, April 2005. (13) Mihail C. Roco and William Sims Bainbridge (under the direction of). Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology and Cognitive Science, June 2002 National Science Foundation, Arlington (Virginia). (14) Alfred Nordmann "Converging Technologies: Shaping the Future of European Societies. European Commission, 26 July 2004. See also Wolfgang Bibel, Daniel Andler, Olivier Da Costa, Günter Küppers, Ian Pearson. "Converging technologies and the natural, social and cultural world." European Commission, July 26, 2004. (15) Bernadette Bensaude-Vincent (2004) If libérer de la matière? Fantasmes autour des nouvelles technologies. Inra al. "Sciences en questions, Paris, 2004. (16) Neal Stephenson L'Age de diamant, Rivages / Future, Paris, March 1996, and Michael Crichton, Prey, Garzanti, 2003. (17) (18) Peter A. Singer 'n the developing world Nanotechnology "Public Library of Science, vol 2, n.5. San Francisco 2005. (19) This center, created in December 2002, is located in New York. It is directed by Mike Treder and Chris Phoenix, engineers and businessmen. See (20) and Mark Altman Jürgen Gubrud, "Risks from military uses of Nanotechnologies, 2002 (Translated by G. P.) rosario.muto Italy 159 Posts Posted - 15 September 2009: 09:43:52 Show Profile Email Poster Visit rosario.muto 's Homepage Edit Reply Reply with Quote View user's IP address Delete Reply Eurometalli SUBJECT: Cancer and toxicity of refractory ceramic fibers (FCR) Refractory ceramic fibers (VCF) are a particular type of man-made vitreous fibers, produced from a mixture of alumina, silica and other oxides or kaolin, has long used as insulating material heat. The European Directive 97/69/EC lays down the FCR as a "man-made vitreous (silicate) a direction and content of oxides and alkaline earth oxide (Na2O + K20 + CaO + BaO + Mg) is equal to or less than 18% weight. The VCFs are aluminum silicate fibers, belonging to the inorganic synthetic fibers, which are composed essentially of silicon (47-54%) and aluminum (53-51%) with possible additions of oxides of zirconium, of boron or titanium. The components are fused together at temperatures between 2100 ° C 1500th and the vitreous mass produced and 'transformed into fibers through processes of blowing rotary and obtaining a product of cotton and looks very similar to a Mineral wool staple white. The chemical and physical properties of FCR, average diameter of between 1 and 3 microns, resistance to temperatures up to 1400 ° C, good chemical resistance, temperature changes and mechanical stresses, make them suitable to be used in many industrial applications. The main uses are linked to high temperatures and practice for thermal insulation of kilns, foundries and petrochemical sector. The size of the fibers, their chemical composition and their ability to persist in lung tissue have a decisive role in determining the toxicity of FCR. E 'known to man only the fibers with diameters less than 3 microns can penetrate the alveoli of lungs, and that all the FCR if inhaled it can do. The main diseases caused by VCFs are charged with respiratory disorders respiratory function, but the most serious effect related to inhalation and 'indicates a risk of cancer lung, demonstrated by some animals, and currently under observation in humans. 2 Euro said Directive classifies substances suspected to be carcinogenic to humans into three categories: Category 1 Substances known to be carcinogenic to humans, and for which there is clear evidence q link between exposure to these substances and the development of cancer in humans. CATEGORY 2 substances regarded as "probable carcinogens". The assumption is because two animal species have developed cancer during long-term studies and other data that are suspect that exposure to these substances can develop cancer of the human organism. CATEGORY 3 substances whose carcinogenic effects are considered possible, but for which there is no evidence enough to be classified in category 2. By Decree 97/69/EC, the European Commission, has placed the FCR in category CC2. Regarding the use of VCFs in the foundry, aluminum silicate fibers with alkaline content and Alkaline - earthy <18% by weight (NaO + K2O + CaO + MgO + BaO) fibers are more involved (power sockets). For FCR classified as carcinogenic second category label must bear the symbol of Tinie skull and crossed with the risk phrases R49 (may cause cancer by inhalation) and R38 ( irritating to the skin). For these reasons, we believe we must respect the following rules of conduct: the producer has the responsibility to provide information as per MSDS Employers have a responsibility to investigate whether the products are subject to classification and list as dangerous goods Employers have the responsibility to seek alternative products are less polluting and harmful to health and whether the use of these alternatives is technically acceptable, it must give priority of choice. NOTE "Q" Decree 97/69/EC The classification as a carcinogen (CC2) does not apply where and 'can demonstrate that they comply with the FCR the following conditions: evidence of persistent organic fiber length greater than 20 microns has submitted a time of biodegradability less than 10 days evidence of biological persistence by instillation into the trachea has shown that the fiber length greater than 20 microns has submitted a time of less than 40 days biodegradability 3 a long-term inhalation test showed that there are pathogenic effects or cases of carcinomas. As a consequence of the above, EUROMETALLI Ltd., markets a product (such "H") with fiber classified CC2, and that product and 'already extensively tested with excellent results. In the attached report on the product type "H", are present analysis by an approved laboratory regarding sun refractory ceramic fibers present in the sleeves cord. E 'analysis was carried out on normal ceramic fibers (01) and an analysis of ceramic fiber-label (eco-O). In ecological fiber, we note the presence of calcium and magnesium, which combine with oxygen the human body, make biodegradable fiber (as requested by Note Q in Euro Directive), while the remaining parts of fiber, reduced only slightly, are expelled from the normal processes physiology. The analysis of the normal ceramic fiber, shows the mere presence of alumina and silica that cause alumina silicate, absolutely not biodegradable. Therefore, the foundries that use power sockets may use the product "H", without issue
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