Nanotechnology involves structures smaller than smaller than 100 nanometres. Nanobiotechnology is the use of nanotechnology in life sciences, or the reverse: using biological materials or blueprints to manufacture technical nanosystems.
Initial toxicological studies have provided evidence that nanoparticles could harm humans and the environment. Handling synthetic nanoparticles should therefore be in line with the precautionary principle. An external report commissioned by the ECNH concludes that the burden of proof for the harmlessness of (unbound) synthetic nanoparticles should be the responsibility of the manufacturers if there are sensible reasons for presuming that these particles may, in certain circumstances, severely damage humans and the environment.
Furthermore, in the series "Beiträge zur Ethik und Biotechnologie":
Nanobiotechnologie - Eine ethische Auslegeordnung (Nanobiotechnology ? an ethical interpretation), in German, 2006.
Tel.: +41 (0)58 463 83 83
Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology ECNH
c/o Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)