Dira Dawa, Northern Ethiopia, January 2007

Inside emergency shelter camp, following massive flooding which left thousands of villagers homeless.

09 March 2010

Nanotechnology: Not all that glitters is gold.

Greetings from the Caribbean. I'm very busy with all sorts of projects. Updates are coming -- some very interesting things to be sure.

For now, I just found this and believe it to be very timely. Please have a look.

(Reprinted from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics - www.safecosmetics.org)


Beware personal care products that tout use of nanoparticles, nanomaterials or nanotechnology. This emerging technology is almost entirely untested for its health effects, and no requirements exist for either testing or labeling these products to make sure consumers are both safe and informed. That means that you might be getting a dose of nano without even knowing it.

Nanotechnology involves the manipulation of materials and the creation of structures and systems that exist at the scale of atoms and molecules. This is seriously tiny stuff: a human hair is about 80,000 nanometers in diameter.

Because of their size, the properties of nanoscale materials (measuring <100 nm) differ significantly from larger scales of the same materials, introducing new and potentially heightened risks of toxicity that remain poorly understood. For example, nano-sized titanium dioxide, often used in sunscreens, may have completely different UV-blocking properties and health effects than conventional titanium dioxide particles (also used in sunscreens).

Research by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics founding partner Friends of the Earth suggests that nanoparticles have entered just about every personal care product on the market, including deodorant, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, hair conditioner, sunscreen, anti-wrinkle cream, moisturizer, foundation, face powder, lipstick, blush, eye shadow, nail polish, perfume and after-shave lotion.

Preliminary scientific research has shown that many types of nanoparticles can be toxic to human tissue and cell cultures, resulting in increased oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine production, DNA mutation and even cell death. They can penetrate cell walls, including organ tissues, and are known to be highly reactive.

One emerging finding is particularly ominous: researchers using animal models have found that, when inhaled, carbon nanotubes may cause the same type of cancer linked to asbestos: mesothelioma. That's cause for grave concern among workers who manufacture products containing carbon nanotubes, and cause for unknown concern for consumers and the environment.

For more information on this:

Nanotechnology and Sunscreens: A Consumer Guide for Avoiding Nano-sunscreens (Friends of the Earth)

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