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A Human Rights Approach to International Environment Rights of Applications of Nanomaterials in Bionanotechnology

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The bionanotechnology available today affects human health and the natural environment in ways that are not fully understood. Clearly, bionanotechnology represents a new frontier to researchers and doctors. The technology is young to expect complete understanding of nanoparticle behavior in the human body. But with findings as startling as nanoparticles entering the brains simply by being inhaled currently unresolved, it is safe to say bionanotechnology has many obstacles to overcome before it can safely be introduced to the public. Nanomaterials are at the leading edge of the rapidly developing field of bionanotechnology. Their unique size-dependent properties make these materials superior and indispensable in many areas of human activity. The production, use, and disposal of products containing nanomaterials may lead to their appearance in air, water, soil, organisms or the human body. There might be adverse effects on human health or on the environment. The current diagnosis of “no evidence of harm” caused by nanoparticles must not be misunderstood in the sense of an “evidence of no harm.” Because of large knowledge gaps and scientific uncertainty concerning possible adverse effects of nanomaterials and nanoparticles the precautionary principle comes into the game. Thinking about the precautionary principle implies the absence of a “standard situation” in moral, in epistemic and in risk respect. Prepared in this way, it is possible to directly address the central question of this paper: should the right to environment in the light of precautionary principle be applied to the field of nanomaterials and which implications would follow from its application? Also, this paper focuses on the link between the protection of Human Rights and the protection of the environment in the field of bionanotechnology. It considers the Human Rights impact of environmental protection with a look at the potential impacts of nanomaterials on the environment.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Bionanoscience attempts to harness various functions of biological macromolecules and integrate them with engineering for technological applications. It is based on a bottom-up approach and encompasses structural biology, biomacromolecular engineering, material science, and engineering, extending the horizon of material science. The journal aims at publication of (i) Letters (ii) Reviews (3) Concepts (4) Rapid communications (5) Research papers (6) Book reviews (7) Conference announcements in the interface between chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and technology. The use of biological macromolecules as sensors, biomaterials, information storage devices, biomolecular arrays, molecular machines is significantly increasing. The traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology are overlapping and coalescing with nanoscale science and technology. Currently research in this area is scattered in different journals and this journal seeks to bring them under a single umbrella to ensure highest quality peer-reviewed research for rapid dissemination in areas that are in the forefront of science and technology which is witnessing phenomenal and accelerated growth.
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