Nanotech Database

Article Title:
Tiny Toxins?

Ross, Philip E.

Journal Information:
Technology Review (MIT)
Vol. 0, Num. 0


The "Magic Nano" health scare in Germany brings to the public's attention nanotechnology's need for clearer and better regulation. The Project on Emerging Technologies has logged over 200 products containing nanoparticles that have not been tested for safety. Buckyballs and nanotubes have made toxicity tests more urgent. Initial studies by Gunter and Eva Oberdorster suggest that buckyballs can cross the blood-brain barrier in rodents and can cause brain damage in fish. NASA researchers have shown that nanotubes can cause lesions in the lungs. The article offers an annotated bibliography of such studies up to 2006. The FDA, OSHA and the EPA are at varying stages of readiness to regulate, but none are completely ready, and an interagency protocol to regulate such particles would be helpful. Companies do not welcome regulation without the research to justify it, but in the interim, they will continue to develop products. The nanotechnology community should demand labeling and information about the nanotechnologies being used in products.