Nanotechnology is a powerful emerging technology for engineering nature at the atomic and molecular level. Nanoparticles are infinitesimally small, about 1000 times thinner than a human hair. At this scale, familiar substances change in ways that scientists may not expect or predict, presenting new toxicity risks. A growing body of scientific data suggests that nanoparticles can be harmful to our health and to the environment.
Nanomaterials are now being used in hundreds of consumer products, from toys to clothes to toothpaste. These new products are being commercialized largely outside of public view or debate and with few regulations to protect workers, the public and the environment.
As just one example of potential concerns, studies indicate that manufactured nanomaterials used in sunscreens have the potential to harm our health. When we shower or swim, the nanoparticles in sunscreens end up in our water systems — these substances could damage microbes that are helpful to ecosystems and could be absorbed up the food chain from smaller to larger organisms.
Friends of the Earth is pushing policymakers in the U.S. and internationally to apply a precautionary approach to the regulation of nanotechnology by putting the health of people and the environment before corporate profits. We are also advocating for mandatory labeling of products that contain nanomaterials so that consumers can make informed decisions.
Friends of the Earth has published several groundbreaking reports on the prevalence and risks of nanomaterials to inform public debate and government solutions, and we work with a variety of partners around the world to monitor the increasing use of this technology and advance common principles for government oversight. We joined over 70 groups from six continents to endorse a guiding document called Principles for the Oversight of Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials.
Nanotechnology – Friends of the Earth
Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith