i Nanophobia ~ nanoall - Nanotechnology Blog



Nanophobia is the fear that nanomaterials used in one way or other can harm the body. This is based on the fear that as tiny nanoparticles can travel through tissue along blood vessels in the human body. If the nanoparticles are indestructible and accumulate in the organs and are not metabolized the organs may fail.

One school of scientists and consumer advocates claim that many industries are adopting nanotechnology ahead of studies that have not yet proved whether regular ingestion, inhalation or dermal penetration of nanoparticles constitute a health or environmental hazard.

Nanotechnology incorporated products are already in the market and people are already exposed to nanoparticles. For example stoves and toaster ovens emit ultrafine particles of 2 to 30 nanometers size and researchers reporte that long-term contact with such appliances could constitute a large exposure to the nanoparticles.

There are products like nano pants, stain-resistant chinos and jeans whose fabric contain nano-sized whiskers that repel oil and dirt, and nanocycles made from carbon nanotubes that are stronger and lighter than standard steel bicycles, lotions and creams which use nanocomponents that may create a more cosmetically elegant effect.

In beauty products dynamic nanoparticles could pose risks to the skin or, if they penetrate the skin, to other parts of the body. The personal care products that contain nano-size components constitute a health hazard as it is also reported that exposure to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide cause damage to the organs of laboratory animals and human cell cultures.

This being an argument, no rigorous clinical trials have been published showing that cosmetics with nanocomponents caused health problems as it is very difficult to get anything through the skin which is an very effective barrier.

Nanotechnology has enormous potential to do a lot of good for mankind. There are recent reports that sunscreens, which contain nanoparticulate titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which blocks out harmful UV radiation, are being sold as nanofree. These have been tested, to show that they pose no danger, as the nanoparticles, although small, are too large to penetrate the dermal layer. However, this is not projected in right sense, which unfortunately can often base articles on pseudo-science. However there is an important responsibility for the scientists to quantify any risk that may be involved, and report whether it is safe to use such materials.

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