Nanoparticles could pose threat to humans: scientists

Sep 16, 2009

They can make fabric resistant to stains, improve the taste of food and help drug research, but nanoparticles could also pose a danger to human health, experts warned Wednesday.

Susanne Stark, of the Consumer Information Association, told a seminar in the Austrian city of Salzburg that companies should be forced to indicate on labels whether a product contains the tiny particles.

"There are more questions than answers on the effects of " on human health, the chemist said.

Cosmetic and food products should indicate whether their products contain nanoparticles by 2012, she said.

Nanoparticles, measuring no more than 100 nanometres, have helped to revolutionise how everyday products are made.

The particles are used to make stain-resistant paint or creamy cosmetic and products. They can also change colour to indicate whether a product has expired.

But their risk to humans remains largely unknown.

Nanoparticles can enter the body through the mouth and nose, the or the skin, and spread inside the body through , said Hans Peter Hutter, a doctor specialised in environmental hygiene in Vienna.

"These tiny particles could without a doubt go all the way to the placenta," he said. But he warned that little was known about their behaviour inside human tissue.

(c) 2009 AFP

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Joeviocoe
3.7 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2009
This is complete dribble and a waste of an article... it gives no detail and only goes by what we don't know about nanoparticles.

It is a scare tactic used to justify someones job at the Consumer Information Association. The article doesn't even speculate on anything. All it says is that we don't know a lot of stuff and it could be dangerous.

HOW CAN IT BE DANGEROUS?? You don't even have any science to even speculate? Why did you bother writing the article if you have nothing to say?
Plotz
4 / 5 (5) Sep 16, 2009
So Joe thinks we should just permit industry to do the right thing---do the research, conduct the studies, and follow up with epidemiological work. Child, you're so trusting!

The sensible thing to do would be to wait for the science. After all, it's what you DON'T know that can hurt you. An ounce of prevention, and all that.
Mandan
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2009
Exactly, Plotz. The problem the human race is facing right now is that the speed of our technological development far exceeds the reach of our "headlights". As this speed continues to accelerate by exponential degrees, our ability to foresee possible "fallout" from that technology has not improved whatsoever. And don't suggest computer modeling-- computer modeling is garbage in/garbage out, and such models cannot take into consideration variables which have not been programmed in.

I can remember reading in Discover Magazine back in the late 80s or early 90s that nanoparticles of certain carbon construction could be harmful to human health. But apparently absolutely nothing has been done to find out except to proceed full-speed-ahead with their development.

Lead plumbing and thalidomide for all! Don't ask any questions and they won't have to tell you any lies.
zbarlici
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2009
Yo joe... i remember looking up the sizes of the smallest nanotubes out there, and comparing them to the sizes of organic cells. Turns out that these nanotubes are in the order of thousands of times smaller than the cells so they can easily slip in and cause all kinds of toxic/dna damage. Companies HAVE to be made to disclose if their products use these nanotubes. If not we will see all kinds of f_ _ _ _ed up diseases and disorders.

Not to say that nanotubes don`t have a lot of potential in medicine, but they really have got to be regulated.
YankInOz
1 / 5 (1) Sep 16, 2009
Interesting - as a materials scientist involved in nanotechnology research, I find that the rash goes away in a few days but the blurry vision has become a bit more persistent. Other than that, I don't feel there is much of a problem. I mean people are willing to have a lethal poison injected into them called "chemo therapy" or suffer radiation poisoning. What's your problem? And if you really want to get up in arms, you may want to object to the swine fiu vaccine coming your way. It is supposedly filled with some sort of nanotubes that can track your every movement! FUD factor at work again. (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt)

People have been exposed to nano particles since we first walked upright or got thrown out of the Garden (which ever floats your boat) and we will be NATURALLY exposed to nano sized particles as long as we are on this planet.

If you think government is going to regulate all of this, you may want to check with your bank.

As a scientist, I have to live here, too!
Arikin
not rated yet Sep 16, 2009
Yes this article is just a rehash of what real scientists are still trying to pin point. Think of it as a reminder :-)

But we can't just ignore a problem away. There are problem with the nano particles no matter their size. See this: http://www.physor...822.html

Oh and yes there are many, many , many application in biology. One for example uses them to deliver small doses of chemo therapy drugs only to cancer cells. Uses less drugs and becomes a simple out patient procedure.

They are already used in cosmetics because they block UV effectively. But there are no rules. Think back a century or so and remember cocaine in cure-all drinks etc. Those must have been the "good" ol'days.
Caliban
3 / 5 (2) Sep 16, 2009
Point is, @YankinOz, we've all got to live here. Yes, there are plenty of naturally occurring toxins- but life has evolved over aeons to tolerate them to varying degrees. Counter that with the abrupt and recent introduction of things like phthalates, PCBs, organophosphates, heavy metals, DDT, et c. -all in the name of improving the "quality" of human life(and frequently, death)- and only to find out years or decades later what their effects are makes it really hard to justify throwing caution to the winds just for the sake of big profits for a few. If you can't learn from past mistakes, you'll likely be buried by future ones. Sort of Darwinian, eh? I wouldn't be happy finding out that the nanosilver in my socks that slows the development of foot odor also caused- after say five years exposure- galloping brain tumors. Especially if it was shown-after the fact- that perhaps vanishingly small amounts of the same material caused the same syndrome to develop in mice after, say- two we
ArtflDgr
Sep 17, 2009
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Joeviocoe
not rated yet Sep 17, 2009
Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt is right!
And perhaps even a bit of Microphobia - Fear of small things.

I did not say I had a problem with caution when devoloping nanotechnology. Caution good, fearmongering bad!

But this isn't journalism! "here is a black box, be afraid!" doesn't tell us anything.

Once again you must employ reason here. The "claimant" is the person that says nanoparticles are potentially dangerous enough to warrant putting labels on everything and warning everybody (creating panic and spreading fear of technology). Yet, there is no proof or even theory that says what "could" happen.

You can cower under your beds at an idle notion if you would like. But I won't become one bit more fearful just because someone throws doubt my way without a "REASON".
Joeviocoe
1 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2009

Some of you remind me of the fear and panic (spread by the media) when average people started learning the word "carcinogen".
"OMG, this is carcinogenic and that is carcinogenic" most of what we eat and breath is... but at what level of exposure?

Newsflash people! Everything can kill you!

And would you like to stop research for lifesaving medicine based on the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt of yet another unknown that "might" harm you?
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (2) Sep 17, 2009
zbarlici,
so your saying we should ban all open flames? because you get nano rods and bucky balls from candles, fireplaces, barbques...

and DDT harm was false... the population peopel diding like that it would save so many lives.
ArtflDgr
1 / 5 (2) Sep 17, 2009
And would you like to stop research for lifesaving medicine based on the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt of yet another unknown that "might" harm you?

no... not at all...but they do want to stop it for social justice
BinaryArtist
1 / 5 (1) Sep 17, 2009
Those of us that watch the 'Outer Limits' TV show have known for years that nanoparticles can make people develop gills and other un-natural appendages. This is old news.

Fear technology, it can kill;)
danman5000
3 / 5 (2) Sep 18, 2009
Regardless of whether there is any actual danger or not, you can't deny that this article provides no information whatsoever. Just like Joe said, it really does just go "Nano scary! Me afraid of progress!" We probably don't know 100% of what there is to know about bunnies, but that doesn't mean we should expect them to rise up from their cages in murderous rebellion.
superhuman
not rated yet Sep 19, 2009
The article does provides information - that exposure to nanoparticles can lead to health problems. While it is not much it's still better then nothing. There are many studies confirming the dangers of nanoparticles, just go to pubmed and do a search.

If you care about your health you should avoid all products containing nanoparticles as in almost all cases potential risks far outweigh benefits.
superhuman
not rated yet Sep 19, 2009
Here is some information on carbon nanotube toxicity from wikipedia:

A study led by Alexandra Porter from the University of Cambridge shows that CNTs can enter human cells and accumulate in the cytoplasm, causing cell death.[27]

Results of rodent studies collectively show that regardless of the process by which CNTs were synthesized and the types and amounts of metals they contained, CNTs were capable of producing inflammation, epithelioid granulomas (microscopic nodules), fibrosis, and biochemical/toxicological changes in the lungs.[28] Comparative toxicity studies in which mice were given equal weights of test materials showed that SWCNTs were more toxic than quartz, which is considered a serious occupational health hazard when chronically inhaled. As a control, ultrafine carbon black was shown to produce minimal lung responses.[29]

More information and references are here:
http://en.wikiped...Toxicity
Joeviocoe
not rated yet Sep 20, 2009
Regardless of whether there is any actual danger or not, you can't deny that this article provides no information whatsoever. Just like Joe said, it really does just go "Nano scary! Me afraid of progress!" We probably don't know 100% of what there is to know about bunnies, but that doesn't mean we should expect them to rise up from their cages in murderous rebellion.


Absolutely hilarious!!!

The article does provides information - that exposure to nanoparticles can lead to health problems. While it is not much it's still better then nothing.


Nothing would be better, far better!

Looks like they got the hint... I don't mind caution and knowing/mitgating risks. But this article provides nothing useful, while the following is MUCH, MUCH better. Thank you Physorg!
http://www.physor...530.html

oh... and thanks 'superhuman'