That is, the fear of your cosmetics, sunscreen and wrinkle fighters, oh my ! As the NYT reports in it’s Fashion (?) section, some of these items contain nanoparticles in derm contacting products we may use on a daily basis.
Nanophobia, the fear that tiny components engineered on the nanoscale — that is, 100 nanometers or less — could run amok inside the body. A human hair, for example, is 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter. A nanoparticle of titanium dioxide in a sunscreen could be as small as 15 nanometers. (One nanometer equals a billionth of a meter.)
“The smaller a particle, the further it can travel through tissue, along airways or in blood vessels,” said Dr. Adnan Nasir, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Especially if the nanoparticles are indestructible and accumulate and are not metabolized, if you accumulate them in the organs, the organs could fail.”
Of course the cosmetic industry is doing all it can to help, as is the FDA:
The Food and Drug Administration does not require manufacturers to list the format of ingredients on labels. The agency does require cosmetics manufacturers to ensure that their products are safe for use; in 2006, the agency created its own task force to investigate the safety of engineered nanomaterials.
More good news..
Dr. Bailey of the Personal Care Products Council estimated that several thousand sunscreens and cosmetics currently use some kind of nanoscale component.
Well, as long as this study’s only on the Fashion page, I’ll take that as another waste of grant money.