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Nano Technology The Next PCB?


Nano technologies have now found their way into commercial applications.  This is no longer the fiction found in Star Trek.  One of the applications nano particles have been utilized in are socks.  Everyday, high performance socks to be exact.  The technology was first used in military clothing to protect soldiers from chemical attacks.  The nanotechnology used in the military repels chemicals and water from affixing to clothing.

Future environmental hot zone?
Future environmental hot zone?

This nano technology then morphed into clothing applications for firefighters and police officers that are exposed to hazardous conditions.  As in all things from the military industrial complex, new consumer applications have been discovered for these nanoscale particles.  Companies like Adidas are adding these particles into their high performance socks and footwear.  The nanoscale particles being used in socks act as odor counter actants.  Adidas and other companies are enjoying the success that the nano technology has brought to lowering foot odor.  Unfortunately, according to studies from Tufts University, the nano particles are being laundered out of the socks when they are washed.  The nano particles composition does not seem to break down in the environment over a short period of time.  Nano particles are entering the waste stream and are being deposited into the water, and ground tables around the world.  Tufts University research are finding nano technology particles in ground water and soil samples.  What is not known are the health ramifications that could result from these particles.  This type of information really will not be available, until research over time is conducted on the human health risks from these particles.  We really won’t know anything perhaps for another 50 years if these particles will impact our well being.  For all we know these could be the next PCB issue future generations will be facing.  The bad thing about all of this technology, and not just nano, is that we humans tend to rush to put them into the life stream, without really understanding the long term implications it might have for life on Earth.  Just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should.  But, then again, once you say not to do something, it’s in our nature to go ahead and do it anyway.

John Vlahakis


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