Nanoparticles: A Real Danger for our Health and the Environment -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


Man & Machine Europe

Nanoparticles: A Real Danger for our Health and the Environment

As a producer of medical grade keyboards, Man & Machine is opposed to the use of nano-silver in keyboards. Despite their efficiency in killing certain bacteria, their use is not without significant risk.

It is because of the many questions around the potential harm of nano-silver that Man & Machine is against using it in keyboards. For this reason the company offers only nano-silver free keyboards. Although, in the medical field, nanoparticles are used to eliminate bacteria. Researchers are now sounding the alarm on the impact of they may on our health and the environment. Man & Machine believes the precautionary principle has to be applied to protect patients, hospital staff and nature from any risk.

Because of their small size, nanoparticles can cross biological barriers and reach body cells. Therefore, being exposed to inhalation, ingestion or the transcutaneous passage of nanoparticles is potentially unsafe. During a recent interview on the Belgium radio station "La première" Olivier Toussaint (project coordinator "Nanotoxico" at the University of Namur) reported worrying results from tests carried out on cells by his team. They indicate that nanoparticles encourage the formation of free radicals, which are highly reactive molecules able to attack DNA. Researchers from the University of Lausanne for their part found that some nanoparticles have the same effects as asbestos. (Smith & Jones. The Effects of Nanoparticles on the Human Body 2011).

There is no specific management process for waste material containing nanoparticles in spite of the fact that they are produced in large quantities. A study shows also that nano-silvers kill useful bacteria in aquatic environments. No one knows if the environment will be able to resist and survive this phenomenon. We cannot avoid the conclusion that we must be concerned about the impact on nature of their use.

As long as experts do not rule out for certain the risks of using nanoparticles, Man & Machine will not include them in their manufacturing process. Its silicone keyboards are fully sealed, waterproof and can be disinfected using alcohol or other disinfectants. They are an effective solution against the proliferation of bacteria and germs while taking into account patient, staff and environment safety.