Saturday, December 11, 2004

'All we have is speculation on toxicity'

Analysis: Nano needs research before rules (By Dee Ann Divis, UPI)

    Concerns are rising over the possible toxicity of nanomaterials and the safety of nanoscale manufacturing, but experts say the field is so new there is not enough research in hand to know what regulations are needed or even if there actually is a safety issue.

    "For the most part, all we have is speculation on toxicity," said Mark Wiesner, an expert on the environmental implications of nanotechnology. "Some (nano)materials are likely to be toxic and some are likely to be completely benign, but we don't know."

    ... In fact, suggested Nancy Monteiro-Riviere, a toxicologist specializing in nanomaterials at North Carolina State University, the size of a nanomaterial may have to be considered separately from the raw material itself and the planned application when regulations are drafted for nano-derived products.

    "The use of cosmetics and sunscreens has been heavily tested in the past," Monteiro-Riviere said. "Most of the nanomaterials that are in these cosmetics are zinc- or titanium-based. They have been tested using classic toxicity screens. They have been regulated based on their chemical composition, not on their size. I have been talking with some of the FDA people who are reevaluating this at the current time." More here

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