Monday, June 05, 2006

Friends of the Earth releases nanotox report

Dear Howard,

I am writing further to your post of May 31 "Cosmetics: Facing the (lack of) facts". I thought you may be interested in a recent report released by Friends of the Earth in Australia and the United States titled "Nanomaterials, sunscreens and cosmetics: Small ingredients, big risks".

Friends of the Earth wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion that you and Paula Begoun (to whom you refer in your post) have drawn, that the risks of nanoscale ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products remain poorly studied and poorly understood. However we believe the existing small body of toxicological evidence indicates the potential for harm.

Our report surveys the existing literature and calls for a moratorium on the release of cosmetics and personal care products that contain nanomaterials until we have regulatory oversight and comprehensive toxicological testing.

Best regards
Georgia Miller
Friends of the Earth Australia Nanotechnology Project


Anonymous said...

Dear Friends of the Earth.

The basics of nanotechnology is not just mixing nano-scale stuff into a creme. Presently the best marketing place to be in seems claiming to use nanoparticles in whatever.

Scotchgard is now nano.
Simple face cream is now a nano-face-anti-age-anti-wrinkle solution.
Car wax is now nanowax and a Tennis ball became a Nano-bounce-ball

Guys, I quite like it when these fake products are getting hammered for their unknown health risk, but by doing so you upgrading them into the real Nanotechnology league.
They don't belong there. These products have been around for 20 years and just have been relabeled. And yes, some scientist told us, it could be deadly to swallow the Nano-Tennis ball.

I would like to see a bit more constructive support for this technology instead this constant negativism and the slogan “let’s keep doing what we did the last few decades until we know if the new stuff is better”.
Nothing wrong with some nano skeptics but look at China the gray pollution goo is well underway, harming humans and nature without much input from the Nano's.

Howard Lovy said...

Actually, speaking of China's pollution, nanotechnology promises to play an important role in converting dirty coal to clean liquid natural gas. Nanoscale catalysts produce fewer byproducts and are about as "green" as a catalyst can be. American companies, including Headwaters, are finding few takers at home, so they're taking the technology over to Asia, including China and the Philippines.

Here's the one thing that baffled me a few years ago when I first noticed that environmental activists were opposed to development of nanotechnology. I wanted to shout, "No. Don't you understand?! Nanotech represents our best hope of actually cleaning up the environment and producing less pollution. Nanoparticles, because they are less wasteful, are actually the truly 'organic' technology of your dreams!" The environment movement should be on the front lines worldwide, lobbying for increased funding for nanotech education and research, so we can achieve a real green peace sooner!

See how emotional I get when I'm baffled? Now I'm using exclamation points. Not very creative. Time to take a break.

More background at the links below:

Philippines to launch NanoPower Revolution: Part II
From Wilkes-Barre to Wolfe
Turn Off the TV, Headwaters (By Jack Uldrich, The Motley Fool)
This Nano Whiz Is Thinking Big (BusinessWeek)