A key area of cutting-edge research in physics, electronics, chemistry and biology, nanotechnologies have attracted the interest of many researchers and enterprises and substantial funding allowing progress to be made both in fundamental research and in the applications of that research.
Nanotechnologies are increasingly present in daily life and especially in our environment; although we are unaware of the consequences they may have for our everyday lives.
Nanotechnologies are used in a range of fields: health, cosmetics, food, electronics, textiles, motor vehicle equipment, sports equipment etc. Over 1000 items are known to contain nanotechnology-based products on the market and many others could soon be available.
Nanotechnology applications could help in particular to meet environmental concerns: energy conservation, energy capture (photovoltaic cells), water, waste and pollutant treatment, size and weight reduction, increased resistance and durability of a number of manufactured goods, environmental monitoring, etc.
However, development of nanotechnologies should only continue if the risks to human health and the environment in general are taken into account.
The Parliamentary Assembly therefore recommends that the member states take measures aimed at harmonising the use of nanotechnologies in order to guarantee in particular health security and ensure environmental protection.