While nanotechnology is an industry buzzword, it is starting to look as if it will be opposed by the union movement.
There are already signs in Oz that nanotechnology is going to be the new spinning jenny.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, union leader Paul Howes has related nanotechnology to asbestos and called for more research to ease fears the growing use of fine particles could endanger manufacturing workers.
The Australian Workers’ Union national secretary said he did not want to make the mistake that his predecessors made by not worrying about asbestos.
Nanomaterials are used to make products such as non-scratching car wax, some types of paint, lighter sporting equipment, and self-cleaning coatings for glass and building materials.
There is some research taking place to see whether some nanomaterials may harm human health and the environment after a pilot study published in Nature Nanotechnology in 2008 suggested that types of carbon nanotubes may behave like asbestos fibres and cause disease.
Howes was worried nanotechnology could be used to carry carcinogenic particles and believes it needs proper regulation and more research.
He fears that people are making the same mistakes that they did with asbestos which appeared in every workplace and household in Australia.
Everyone thought it was a miracle fibre that could be used for anything and it was going to transform Australia. Unfortunately, it mostly killed you, he said.