The promises that nanotechnology brings to mankind is so huge that there are some sectors who fear that if its applications are not properly regulated, it can bring harm to mankind instead of the good it is projected to give everyone. As a result, calls for the setting of regulatory procedures in its applications are supported not only by scientists and the industry that benefits from it but also from various groups representing ordinary people. As such, nanotechnology ethics has come to be seen as something as important as nanotechnology itself. In doing so, the scientific community is only reacting to experiences with epoch-setting technologies in the past. Knowing the possible horrors that can affect mankind, nanotechnology ethics are in place for every disciple of the learning to observe.
Defining the Limits of Nanotechnology
Because the full impact of nanotechnology has not been fully realized, various governments and scientists are afraid that the unrestricted applications of nanotechnology will result to health and environmental problems. Characteristic of something that is not fully regulated in a uniform manner, various nations have their own reactions to nanotechnology applications. For example, some aspects of nanotechnology are allowed in the United States with a wide range of freedom—including its use for sunscreen products—but in other countries, the situation is different. In the United Kingdom, nanotechnology ethics also puts into consideration the impact on the environment first, particularly on the release of nano particles to the atmosphere that may trigger pollution. On the other hand, in other countries, the debate on nanotechnology ethics is more on the definition of the size of matter that can be considered as part of nanotechnology.
In large countries such as the United States, nanotechnology ethics are also imposed by individual states, aside from the laws enacted on the national level. In California, for example, nanotechnology ethics are geared towards protecting the environment especially on the disposal of nanotech products to the environment. Such regulation also covers the importation and selling of such products.
One of the hottest debates concerning nanotechnology is on the most promising benefit it holds for mankind: that on the fields of tissue engineering and on the cure for HIV virus. Although both ends are seen to be greatly beneficial for the good of man, both are so touchy and covers a lot of implications that even with the prospected benefits, those who apply nanotechnology in these areas are being very cautious about them. This is because there are some groups and governments who are opposed to any form of medical treatment that has not been proven to be really effective in giving the projected benefit, especially if the procedure involves some risk on the matter of a person’s health. A case in point here is the possibility of nanotechnology being disguised as medically beneficial when it can be used to terminate life or induce abortion and other methods that some groups are essentially opposed to. All said, these opposition to nanotechnology are contributory to the slow pace of the development of nanotech, although on the brighter side of things, it is seen as a way to be certain about the real effects of this unique technology.