There is a whole range of risks related to nanotechnologies: environmental, health, and safety issues.
The extremely small size of nanomaterials means that they are much more
readily taken up by the human body than larger sized particles. How
these nanoparticles behave inside the organism is one of the significant
issues that needs to be resolved. Apart from what happens if non-degradable or slowly degradable
nanoparticles accumulate in organs, another concern is their potential
interaction with biological processes inside the body: because of their
large surface, nanoparticles on exposure to tissue and fluids will
immediately adsorb onto their surface some of the macromolecules they encounter. The large number of variables influencing toxicity means that it is
difficult to generalise about health risks associated with exposure to
nanomaterials – each new nanomaterial must be assessed individually and
all material properties must be taken into account.
Nanopollution is a generic name for all waste generated by nanodevices or during the nanomaterials
manufacturing process. Nanowaste is mainly the group of particles that
are released into the environment, or the particles that are thrown away
when still on their products.
Beyond the toxicity risks to human health and the environment which are
associated with first-generation nanomaterials, nanotechnology has
broader societal impact and poses broader social challenges. Nanotechnologies might cause new privacy risks, with undetectable devices spying on individuals and corporations. There is lot of patenting activity related to nanotechnologies, which might contribute in exacerbating the wealth gap.