"Nanotechnology is a major new approach in industrial production and reflects the general downsizing and miniaturisation efforts prevalent in all technological disciplines.
While its commercial utilisation has triggered debate in specialist circles and the term 'nanotechnology' itself is rapidly becoming a media buzzword, there is still no universal assessment of the opportunities and hazards of this new scientific discipline. The word 'nanotechnology' itself actually connotes less a technology than a generic term for a large number of applications and products which contain unimaginably small particles and demonstrate special properties as a result.
Are these invisible particles dangerous to our breathing? What happens if nanotechnologically manufactured products end up on the refuse dump and their particles are released into the environment? Too little is known about risks of this kind, and the paucity of data gives rise to a host of fears and alarmist scenarios."
Source: Swiss Re
Nanotechnology - Wikipedia