Nanoparticles in Personal Care Products Harm the Environment

At the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society scientists expressed concern over the environmental and human health risks of nanotechnology, microscopic particles used in personal care products like sunscreen and cosmetics that are highly effective at penetrating the skin. Researchers suggest the chemicals many nanoparticles contain, like nano-titanium dioxide, which blocks ultraviolet rays, may harm the environment, such as possibly disrupting beneficial soil microbes; via EurekAlert!

Like many experts, Dr. Fuhrman acknowledges the potential of nanotechnology, but urges caution. Saying nanoparticles are 70 times smaller than a red blood cell allowing them to penetrate the skin, possibly elude the immune system and reach the brain. Nanotechnology in food packaging has already drawn heavy scrutiny by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Carbon nanotubes, used to make car bumpers, computer displays and bicycle components, pose health risks similar to inhaling asbestos. So many factories manufacture nanoparticles in closed chemical reactors and require workers to wear respirators.

Image credit: ThinkNik

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Kirsten - March 30, 2009 3:35 PM

Eeek! I'm all for technology that actually improves things, but it seems that everything has a cost ...

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