Roger Hudson
So graphene could be harmful? show me a school kid that never licked a pencil, and that's graphene... Point made
@Roger H. - That's graphite, check again, no points here,
I was glad to see an article about the harmful effects something new may have on humans or the environment. We rarely get to see follow ups on new technology like this. We see new battery, circuits, energy and materials technologies that look promising but often the harmful details are not talked about or shared in the article. Thanks for the article Gizmag!
Ken Dawson
So many technologies are rushed out the door while scientists focus on the positive aspects... rarely do they ask: "Is this harmful?" The Romans thought they were geniuses with their plates, goblets, and utensils made from lead. Such a miraculous metal! So easy to shape and form... and cheap too... And, Agent Orange was a miracle herbicide at the time. So effective at clearing away vegetation. In retrospect (and after much research) it turned out that both of these ideas were really, really bad for human health. I'm waiting for the future research to show that holding 1W radio transmitters next to your head (i.e., cellphones) is also a really dumb idea that probably causes a slough of health problems. People will look at our society holding phones up to our head the way we look at the Romans eating with lead forks. Just because it's got useful properties doesn't mean that it's safe for human consumption.
The Skud
Hopefully, more research will identify and solve suggested problems as they arise - I just hope peole are not ignored in the rush for profit from this new material. We (now) know all about the problems with asbestos, we do not need these worries with graphene 10-20 years down the track when half the original makers have disappeared from the marketplace with nobody to sue.
Remember that asbestos was hailed as a miracle material? Turns out it kills pretty much everyone that comes in contact with it in a slow and horrible way sometimes 30 or more years later. Any company that doesn't full investigate graphene is asking for the billion dollar repercussions that asbestos had. Any nation more requiring thorough investigation of entirely new things / materials is asking for even greater burden; both economic and social. I'll let your imagination think up all the new miracle technologies we are rushing forward with due to their potential economic benefit without considering the longer term detriment.
Stuart Wilshaw
Let's be realistic, these dangers apply to all nano-materials not just graphene. Because of their size they have the ability to bypass the body's normal defenses with as yet unknown effects both short and long term.
A lot more caution is needed before they are rushed out into general use. I can remember as a young lad back in the 1950s seeing advertisements extolling the beneficial effects of a 'tonic water' containing radon salts; try selling that now!
Mel Tisdale
Graphene would appear to be capable of fulfilling many important roles in society, especially with regard to its electrical conductivity in the light of copper ores now down to between 2 and 5 percent.
One hopes that following the experience with asbestos, there are regulatory instruments in place to ensure protection from any possible long-term harm. However, if that is not the case, then perhaps there should be a levy raised on all sales of graphene that can be used to provide a compensation fund should any problem from its use manifest itself many years hence. The only obvious alternatives are to either place a ban on its use until proven safe, or to apply it and keep our fingers crossed. Neither is particularly attractive, to say the least.
One should not compare asbestos with graphene. Former is naturally occurring while the latter is man made. The first led to health problems leading to death because of breathing in the fine fibers without proper precautions. Of course these were unknown hazards. At least with graphene we do have methods for studying its detrimental effects. After all is said and done we will still end up with some kind of disaster similar to thalidomide babies because of incomplete or incompetent testing and big profits !
Good to see man is starting to double check the mess they can do to itself & the environment if it's not careful. Didn't like the safe as possible part, we should just make things safe and advance the planet & tech that way. Wishful thinking maybe, but better than fixing disasters later.