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Nanotechnology & Health
a collection of articles about nanomaterials and health
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Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog » Study Reveals Toxic Nanoparticles Persist in Food

"The scientists note that, once ingested, nanoparticles can pass into the blood and lymph system, circulate through the body and reach potentially sensitive sites such as the spleen, brain, liver, and heart. Nanosilver’s presence in clothing and cosmetics provides another potential route of exposure. A recent study revealed that athletic wear impregnated with nanosilver can cause the substance to seep into a person’s skin through one’s sweat. A 2009 study showed that washing these types of nanosilver-impregnated textiles resulted in an unknown spread of the substance into the environment. Due to its small size, nanosilver is often not filtered out by conventional wastewater treatment plants. After entering the environment, past studies show nanosilver can have devastating impacts on wildlife, including deformities in fish and immune suppression in earthworms.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been criticized by scientists and consumer and environmental groups for its role in regulating emerging nanotechnology. A 2013 National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) report provided a scathing account of EPA’s “conditional” registration of nanosilver, which the agency approved under the assumption that its use would reduce the overall burden of conventional silver in the environment. However, despite its novel antibacterial properties, the material did not undergo a full range of required tests, and there is no labeling system that would alert consumers to the presence of this largely untested substance in consumer products. A 2012 industry newsletter placed EPA’s delay over nanotechnology regulation on White House officials in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Richard Denison, PhD, senior scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund explained, “My understanding is that there is a view in some circles in the White House that they do not want to stigmatize nanomaterials nor stifle the technology even by requiring the reporting of information that EPA needs to make judgments as to whether there are risks.”"

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Nanotech innovation high, but 'playing catch-up' on health and safety - Nanotechnology: Harmful or Benign? | Investigative Reporting Workshop

Nanotech innovation high, but 'playing catch-up' on health and safety - Nanotechnology: Harmful or Benign? | Investigative Reporting Workshop | Nanotechnology & Health |

"The businesses and trade groups lobbying against proposed action on nanotechnology by the EPA, the Food and Drug Administration and other federal agencies include the American Chemistry Council and its nanotechnology business panel. Among the panel’s members are Procter & Gamble, BASF Corp., Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, Lockheed Martin Corp. and 3M, all of which use nanomaterial in making at least some of their products or processes. Other key lobbying groups are the NanoBusiness Commercialization Association and the Nanotechnology Industries Association. Nanotechnology practices have sprung up in law and lobby firms, among them Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Foley & Lardner LLP and Bergeson & Campbell PC. The combined amount of money spent on lobbying by these firms last year was more than $200 million, and their campaign contributions to federal candidates during the 2011-2012 election cycle exceeded $120 million.


One of the best-known scientist-lobbyists, Rosalind Volpe, made a name for herself defending another industry with a public health and environmental public relations problem: lead. Volpe runs the Silver Nanotechnology Working Group and remains a consultant to the International Lead Zinc Research Organization.


“She knows how to lobby for difficult chemicals,” said Jaydee Hanson, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, which studies the impact of nanotechnology on food. “She works for five little companies, but they’ve managed to hold up regulations over at the OMB,” a reference to the White House Office of Management and Budget."

Jake Donald's curator insight, February 18, 8:27 PM

Nanotechnology is a topic on the rise.  This technology deals with the manipulation of nanoparticles on a microscopic level.  Nanotechnology has lead to advancements in agriculture, medicine, electronics, and almost every sector of commerce.  The world market is expected to purchase $2.6 trillion in nanomaterials by the year 2015.


Interviews with professionals and regulators showed no result in whether nanotechnology was harmful to health.  Public health officials are troubled by this because many companies can market this technology without knowing that it is harmful.  Many big businesses already use nanotechnology in their products.