In a study conducted by researchers at Berkeley and the University of California it has been indicated that zero-valent iron nanoparticles can cause oxidative stress to lung cells. This means that the introduction of these iron nanoparticles is correlated with an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS) seen in the cells. The presence of ROS increases the chances of cell damage and DNA mutation, which could increase likelihoods of cancer.
These nanoparticles are already commercially available but not yet in use. This study highlights how careful the scientific community have to be about new nanotechnologies. The same way new drugs must undergo rigorous pre-clinical and clinical trials these new nanotechnologies must be tested for their impact on the environment and ourselves.
Information about the effects of Nanotechnology on the environment can be found at SafeNano. – CT