While graphene might be wonderful for the future of electronics, it turns out that it might not be so wonderful for the future of the Earth’s lakes and streams. A team of University of California-Riverside researchers found that a form of the material moves easily through surface water, improving the chance that it ends up inside a living creature.

Graphene, which scientists could some day use to create super-fast computers and more efficient solar panels, is just an atom thick. Studies have suggested that nanomaterials like graphene can work their way into lung tissue and the bloodstream, where they could have a toxic effect or cause other damage. One study out of Brown University even showed that jagged pieces of graphene can pierce human cells and derail their normal functions. Silicon, the material that currently dominates the electronics industry, is nontoxic.

“The situation today is similar to where we were with…

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