A random search for something else just popped up this site where you can post your beauty product questions for real scientists to answer. (I'm not a heavy user of beauty products, but I found it fascinating.) Here's a request, though: if you post to Beauty Brains, post your question here, too. And then, when you get a response, let us know what they said!
When "Magic Nano" cleaning spray went on the market in March, it got yanked almost immediately after over 100 people reported coughing fits and breathing problems. So was this the first health disaster for nanotechnology? No, considering the product didn’t contain any nanotechnology or nanoscale particles, just a nano marketing ploy.
The product used the name because it created a thin film on the surface you were cleaning but didn't use any nanoscale properties. The problem with the product was more about a poorly tested traditional aerosol.
We should keep this story in mind as nanotechnology finds its way into more and more products. Nanotechnology product expert, Neil McClelland, puts it well when he says,
"People are just starting to hear about nanotechnology and this issue will just help to bring the issue to the fore. But it would be disastrous for all concerned if the nature of nano is destroyed. Imagine if we had had a bad batch of penicillin at the beginning and wrote it off - that would have been a tragedy. The implications of nanotechnology in healthcare are massive. We have a moral obligation that this technology will do well."
Nanotechnology is certainly a big buzz word in the world of science and technology. Scientists are making efforts to bring us futuristic products like an elevator to space and super cheap solar cells by manipulating materials at the nano scale (almost 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair). Some of these futuristic breakthroughs could revolutionize how we live and improve our lives.
Yet, the popular media is also buzzing with nanotechnology safety concerns. Because this technology is so new and unknown we don't know all of the risks involved with building at the scale of atoms.
But whether you see nano-tech products as the promise of the future or a scourge to our health, few people realize that there is an amazing array of products out there right now that use nano-technology.
Don't believe me? Just check out the Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory. They have a list of over 200 current products you can buy containing nano-technology including, BEHR paint, Dockers Pants, and my favorite the GreenYarn nano beauty mask.
Nanotechnology holds great promise. Whether its future will be overwhelmingly negative or positive is yet to be decided. But, the future is no longer far off in the distance. Nanotechnology is on the self of our hardware, drug, and convenience stores right now.
So does this make you excited? Worried? Or is it all just hype?