Editorial Feature

Nanotechnology - What are the Environmental Benefits of Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology has the potential to help reduce the human footprint on the environment as the applications of nanotechnology develop over time. This article will describe how nanotechnology can create materials and products that will not only directly advance our ability to monitor, detect and clean-up environmental contaminants, but also help us avoid creating pollution in the first place.

Nanotechnology and Environmental Remediation

Examples of environmental remediation include sequestration, degradation, or other related approaches resulting in the reduction of risks to human and environmental receptors posed by chemical and radiological contaminants. The benefits from using nanotechnology for remediation could include a more rapid waste cleanup relative to conventional approaches currently used. These benefits are derived from nanomaterial's enhanced reactivity, surface area, and sequestration characteristics.

Nanotechnology and Sensors

The development and applications of sensors based on nanotechnology is increasing dramatically due to the advancements in microelectronics and processing and manufacturing technologies on the nanoscale.

Nanosensors can be divided into two main groups. The first group is sensors that are being used to measure properties on the nanoscale. The second group is sensors that have nanoscale parts or components or the sensor itself is in the nanoscale.

Nanotechnology offers the potential of improving exposure assessment by facilitating collection of a large number of measurements at a lower cost and improved specificity. With nanotechnology, it will soon be possible to develop nanosensor that can detect specific sets of harmful agents in the environment at very low concentrations.

Source: EPA Nanotechnology White Paper EPA 100/B-07/001 | February 2007

For more information on this source please visit EPA.

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