What Are Nanoparticles?
A nanoparticle is a piece of material so small that its size is measured in nanometers or billionths of a meter. As a comparison, a typical nanoparticle is approximately 1/50000 smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The size of nanoparticles is their greatest asset and their greatest health risk.
Why am I writing about nanoparticles on an allergy web blog?
I feel strongly that new technology has the potential to create new allergens or weaken our natural defenses against natural allergens. We should always be aware and on guard to protect our bodies.
Nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter on the molecular level, generally raises no new safety issues, but the tiny particles can behave in unusual ways. In some instances non-toxic materials can become toxic. Existing safety rules do not take into account “safe” non-toxic materials posing risks at the nano scale. Nanoparticles are so small they can infiltrate our skin, lungs and intestinal walls, giving the toxins free access to the body. For example they can get into our lungs but are so small they are not easily cleared by normal body functions. This causes the lungs to be overburdened and we have to work harder to breathe.
But new research just published in the journal Cancer Research demonstrates that it is the surface interaction the nanoparticles produce inside a body that causes genetic damage. Bottom line: the study conducted by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center has revealed for the first time that TiO2 nanoparticles induce single and double-strand DNA breaks and cause chromosomal damage, as well as inflammation, all of which increase the risk of cancer.
Nanoparticles are found in products that are unmarked and commonly used. Two common sources of nanoparticles today are sunscreens and mineral make up. Nanoparticles are used by firms including Boots, The Body Shop, Avon, Nivea and Unilever. (Nanowerk News) Testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth has found nanoparticles in foundations and concealers sold by big name brands, including Revlon, Clarins, Clinique, Max Factor, the Body Shop, L’Oréal, By Terry and Lancôme Paris. The use of nanoparticles in high exposure consumer applications such as cosmetics has attracted increasing controversy as evidence of potential toxicity has grown. These particles are being used in products without sufficient safety testing.
“The cosmetics industry needs to stop burying its head in the sand and come clean about how it is using nanotechnology,” said Sue Davies, chief policy adviser at Which? “Many of the applications could lead to exciting, revolutionary developments … but until all the necessary safety tests are carried out, the simple fact is we just don’t know enough. The government must introduce a compulsory reporting scheme for manufactured nanomaterials … and only those that are independently assessed as safe should be allowed to be used in cosmetics.”
Dr. Epstein, who is interviewed on Dr. Mercola’s web site, has serious concerns about cosmetic products containing nano-particles, and that the facts about these technologies are being hidden and ignored. “There is no labeling of the warning at all of the dangers of these nanoparticles, instead they are touted as reducing wrinkling and firming up the skin surface,” he says. These ingredients are used in many different brands of cosmetics and cosmeceuticals, so I encourage you to use this information to evaluate ANY type of cosmetic you’re considering buying. Some of these nanoparticles are so dangerous, in fact, they’re slowly but surely becoming known as “universal asbestos.”
Read the full article here: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/04/24/epstein-interview.aspx
Another source of information: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/newscience/plastic-nanoparticles-can-cross-placenta
All this talk of Nanoparticles makes me think of Michael Crichton’s book of fiction “Prey” from 2002. As always Mr. Crichton was ahead of his time. I recommend this book highly for an exciting and thoughtful read.
Read all the blogs about skin allergies on Allergy Comfort Zone: http://allergycomfortzone.com/skin-allergies