Nanotechnology is simultaneously one of the most exciting and frightening emerging sciences of the last 60 years. It holds the potential to solve countless problems in engineering, biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and medicine. However, as a newer field of scientific research, there are naturally fewer regulations on how and why nanomaterials are developed. It is undeniable that nanomaterials hold the possibility to cause harm to humans and/or the environment, but do we have reason to fear the long-term impact of these technologies? In this paper, I will examine the various environmental and health risks associated with the development and application of nanomaterials; including the ease with which nanoparticles can be taken up by the body and the relatively unknown toxicity of nanomaterials, as well as the complete lack of research on the fate of nanomaterials in the environment. While there has been little in the way of government regulation on the production of nanomaterials, it is necessary to define the precautionary principle and the precautionary attitude, and to look at the role both concepts play in nanomaterial production and application. Finally, I will critically examine the perceived necessity of scientific advancement, and offer my assessment on the nature of future scientific research.