How Safe is Nanotechnology?
There’s been a lot of attention paid to the possible benefits of nanotechnology. In fact, nanoparticles can be found in an increasing number of personal care products, from toothpaste to sunscreen. Chances are good that you’re using products containing nanoparticles without even knowing it.
How safe is nanotechnology?
We’ve been doing some digging into how well this new technology is regulated. The fact is that nanoparticles are too recent a development to have been adequately tested for safety, much less regulated. Consumers using common personal care products need to do their homework in order to know whether or not a product they are using contains nanoparticles.
A nanoparticle is defined as a microscopic particle measuring between 1 and 100 nanometers. One nanometer is approximately one one-hundred-millionth of a meter – the size of an atomic particle. It may have useful applications in the medical and electronics fields. It has, however, been used already in skincare products which are easily absorbed through the skin. The effects of using ingredients the size of atomic particles on the skin are not well known. Some studies have shown that nanoparticle toxicity increases as their size decreases. Another popular use for nanoparticles is in sunscreens. However, it is known that the lungs are vulnerable to inhaled small particles. None of these concerns have been disseminated to the general public. An ingredient like Titanium Dioxide, for example, may not cause you to normally react, but when used as a nanoparticle, this change could cause an adverse reaction. The cumulative effect of such ingredients could become problematic.
In the meantime, consumers may want to learn which products contain nanoparticles if they fear any possible allergic reactions or other adverse effects. A useful iPhone app called “FindNano” can help consumers identify products that they’re using that may contain nanoparticles. If you cannot access the app, you can visit the Consumer Products Inventory to search for consumer products using nanoparticle technology.
We at WEBA Natural Products have no plans to go in this direction. We are proud to say that all of our ingredients are derived from natural products as close to their natural state as possible. Given the fact that nanoparticles can penetrate the body fairly deeply, there is no telling what the consequences might be. We prefer to avoid potentially harmful synthetic materials that do little to enhance a product’s performance, especially when other natural options exist.
We believe that when it comes to personal care, you can’t improve on nature. For thousands of years, people have been using natural ingredients with bioactive compounds to improve their health and wellbeing. We will always strive to develop new products that utilize all the benefits of nature’s bounty in a sustainable way.
Guardian article on nanotechnology
Safe Cosmetics article on nanomaterials
The Nanotech Project
Smart Skincare article about nanoparticles and skincare