One Cell One Light™ Radio with Dr. Hildegarde Staninger™, RIET-1
August 3, 2011: Nanotechnology and Its Unknown Impact On The Environment
Guests: Dr. Richard “Dick” Young, Executive Director, NREP; and Robert Thollander, Jr., Molecular Biologist, IEIA
Dr. Richard Young
Dr. Richard Young is executive Director of the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP) in Glenview, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. NREP, founded in 1987, is the largest non-governmental environmental education organization and accrediting organization with in excess of 20,000 certified professionals world-wide. NREP’s accreditation covers the environmental fields as well as homeland preparedness. NREP was among the first environmental organizations to recognize the potential hazards to the environment from exposure to nanotechnology. Many have since followed.
Dr. Young’s background is rich. He has served as the US Government’s pollution control expert around the world at technology exchange meetings with foreign governments. In addition, he has been environmental advisor and consultant to 14 states and five Federal Agencies.
Dr. Young, who is an engineer, was founding Editor/Publisher of Pollution Engineering Magazine, a leader in the field. He has written several hundred articles dealing with environmental management and pollution control. In addition he has authored 31 books on environmental safety and engineering.
Dr. Young has worn many hats during his esteemed career. He served as an adjunct professor and lecturer at Southern Illinois University, George Williams College and Eastern Kentucky University. He has been honored with numerous awards in journalism, engineering and from governmental agencies, including the Charles Ellet Outstanding Engineer Award and the Environmental Quality Award of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
National Registry of Environmental Professionals
Robert Thollander, Jr., Molecular Biologist, IEIA
Nanotechnology. It’s everywhere. It’s in the food we eat, it’s in our cosmetics and sunscreen, and it’s used in hospitals in surgical procedures. It has been around for the past two decades, according to Robert Thollander Jr., Molecular Biologist, and a savvy inner city Chicago biology teacher of 10th and 12th graders. According to him, it’s in the last decade that nanotechnology has really started to go mainstream.
“Nanotechnology was created and used for a specific purpose,” says Thollander. “It’s smaller than microscopic. It’s highly lucrative. There are untold uses for its potential in application.
“When you go really small, you can specialize what you’re doing. You can manipulate other materials. It’s kind of like a tiny machine. I think any new breakthrough in research can be good.”
It’s those unintended uses, though, that can become problematic. Thollander cites DDT as an example. “It wiped out mosquitos and malaria and helped improve crops; however, it destroyed most bird populations.
“Nanotechnology is kind of like DDT – it may have unintended side effects.” Thollander uses Morgellons Disease, a skin disease where fibers come out of the skin, and other new viral diseases as illustrations. ”I don’t think the effects are widely known,” he said.
“It may be the interaction of different elements. It could be triggered by chemicals, nutrition, different lifestyle patterns. If the CDC (Center for Disease Control) would look into it, they would look at these things.
“When HIV first surfaced, it took at least a decade for people to realize there was a blood-borne disease that was killing people.”
Thollander points out the untold effects of birth control pills for women. “They urinate. That gets in the water supply. The chemicals are taken in by smaller creatures who are then eaten by larger creatures. It affects the hormones (of fish); the fish become infertile, and it changes the male/female species.”
Thollander mentions California as having a high level of technology industry where there is frequent use of nano. “Hence,” he says, “California harbors the most cases of Morgellons Disease.” And he reasons: “If nano is in pesticides, then nano could be in food. Our food has plastic particles, a host of other chemicals and antibiotics (in it).”
Thollander is neutral regarding nano, not labeling it as good or bad. “I think it’s how it’s used that dictates whether it will be a good or bad thing for the population,” he said.
“The best nano use would be in applied research; in laboratories, it could be beneficial, I do think it’s too soon to be putting it out there. I don’t think enough research and long-lasting research in the environment has been done.”
Expanded List of References compiled by Dr. Staninger:
SMART DUST: DEFENDING THE LAND, AIR, and SEA and ITS GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT THROUGH DEPOPULATION WARS:
Full Figures File — Smart Dust Paper:
I, Nanobot – Alan H. Goldstein:
Size of the Nanoscale:
National Nanotechnology Initiative Strategic Plan (2011):
Regional, State, and Local Initiatives in Nanotechnology Workshop Report:
Nano EHS Workshop Series Reports:
Wires in the Brain (VIDEO):
Audio Archive from Wednesday, August 3, 2011: