25
Jan
2008

Nanotech: Tiny particles, big risks

In These Times
by Terry J. Allen

01/24/08

Nanotechnology, one of the fastest growing industries in history, is a major threat to human health and the environment. Or not. The fact is, when it comes to nanotech, we don’t have any idea what the facts are. Nonetheless, manufacturers are rushing ahead to add inadequately tested particles, one nanometer to 100 nanometers in size, to a wide and growing array of consumer products. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter, or the length of a fingernail as it grows in a second. Manipulated at the level of atoms and molecules, these radical particles have fundamentally different physical, chemical and biological properties from the matter from which they were created. Benign materials may become toxic, while their nano-scale allows them to penetrate cells, even breaching the blood-brain barrier...

//www.inthesetimes.com/article/3483/nanotech_tiny_particles_big_risks/


Informant: Thomas L. Knapp

--------

Nanotech: Tiny Particles, Big Risks

excerpt:

The nonprofit Consumers Union admonishes that "widespread, unregulated use of many nanoengineered materials will bring ... severe, irreversible, unintended consequences." Preliminary studies have linked them to DNA damage and unpredictable inflammatory and immune responses. Britain's Royal Society warns that nanotubes "are structurally similar to asbestos fibers." Rats exposed to nanoparticles have shown tumor-related effects, according to the journal Particle and Fibre Toxicology, which questions whether nanoparticles in sunscreen can cause systemic effects if absorbed through skin. Certainly, they end up in water, where early evidence suggests toxicity to fish.

//www.alternet.org/story/75396/


Informant: Iris Atzmon



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