John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé

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Don’t be afraid of the nanoparticles, it's just an ill-prepared nano-crisis... Volume 19, issue 6, November-December 2020

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Continuing scientific progress has led to the emergence of the great NBIC (Nano, Bio, Info and Cognition) project, aimed at increasing human performance and simultaneously, thanks to the size of nanomaterials and the power of nanotechnology, finding new industrial and medical applications. The relentless debate between a technology that can do everything and ideologies fiercely opposed to that goal has resulted in a battle between intellectuals over societal choices that is almost invisible to the general public. For several decades now, our world has been going through “real” health crises that are compared with what could have emerged since the public debate of 2009 about “Nano”. The public is no longer concerned about nanotechnology, and a survey conducted for this paper even reveals the attraction of nanomedicine. However, while the field is now entering a certain almost reassuring conformity, its development is not as spectacular as expected. If the precautionary principle for unknown dangers and exposures continues to be ignored, careful attention should be maintained, along with toxicological research, to prevent unacceptable effects.