Tiny particles pose threat: scientists

– I’ve been beating this little drum for sometime now.   I think when we look back in the future on today’s science, this will be one of the big ‘gotchas’ we missed.

– I’ve written on this before here: , , , , and .

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Tiny particles in consumer products sold in New Zealand and around the world pose health and environmental risks and need to be tracked, scientists say.

Amid growing worldwide concern about the potential effects of nanoparticles, Kiwi scientists, academics and officials want the Government to introduce a labelling system identifying nanomaterials used in products on supermarket shelves and to maintain a public database of nanoproducts.

Nanoparticles are about 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and are used in more than 800 consumer products, including cosmetics, sunblock, clothing, food, washing machines and refrigerators.

A report on the opportunities and drawbacks of nanotechnology has just been published by the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology. It lists more than 70 actions the Government should take.

Report editor and University of Canterbury physicist Simon Brown told The Press that apart from nanotechnology’s obvious advantages in the computer and electronics world, there were known and unknown hazards.

There was a strong sense the Government had yet to face up to nanotechnology.

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