8 mins

Dunkin’ Donuts ditches titanium dioxide – but is it actually harmful?

In response to pressure from the advocacy group As You Sow, Dunkin’ Brands has announced that it will be removing allegedly “nano” titanium dioxide from Dunkin’ Donuts’ powdered sugar donuts. As You Sow claims there are safety concerns around the use of the material, while Dunkin’ Brands cites concerns over investor confidence. It’s a move ...

9 mins

Australian Education Union advises against using nanoparticle-based sunscreens in schools

Last week, the Victoria branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) passed a resolution recommending that “workplaces use only nanoparticle-free sunscreen” and that sunscreens used by members on children are selected from those “highlighted in the Safe Sunshine Guide produced by Friends of the Earth” as being nano-free.  The AEU also resolved to provide the ...

International Handbook on Regulating Nanotechnologies – sneak peak of contents

Back in the mists of time, I was approached with a crazy proposition – would I help co-edit a book on nanotechnologies regulation!  In a moment of weakness I said yes, and a little more than two and a half years later, the book is finally about to hit the shelves. I actually think the ...

5 mins

Nanotechnology 2.0: The next ten years of nano risk research

Sometime in the past couple of weeks – I’m not entirely sure when as accounts are conflicting – the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) posted a draft of a new report examining the long-term impacts and research directions of nanotechnology.  The “Nano2” study was supported by the National Science Foundation under the direction of Mike ...

11 mins

The safety of nanotechnology-based sunscreens – some reflections

A few weeks ago, I set Friends of the Earth a challenge – What is your worst case estimate of the human health risk from titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens? The challenge came out of an article from FoE on nanomaterials and sunscreens, which I subsequently critiqued on 2020 Science.  Georgia Miller ...

9 mins

Just how risky can nanoparticles in sunscreens be? Friends of the Earth respond

Last week, I posed Friends of the Earth a challenge – “What is your worst case estimate of the human health risk from titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens?”  Georgia Miller of FoE Australia and Ian Illuminato of FoE in the US have kindly provided a detailed response.  Rather than just keep this ...

1 min

Just how risky could nanoparticles in sunscreens be?

Following up from my previous post, here’s an open question to Friends of the Earth: What is your worst case estimate of the human health risk from titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide nanoparticles in sunscreens? What I am interested in is a number – a probability of a specific human health impact being caused by ...

11 mins

Friends of the Earth come down hard on nanotechnology – are they right?

Friends of the Earth (FoE) do not like nanoparticle-based sunscreens.  This has been evident for some years – back in 2006 the organization published the report Nanomaterials, Sunscreens and Cosmetics: Small Ingredients, Big Risks, and every year since then they have had something to say on the subject. This year’s web-based piece leaves now doubt ...

7 mins

Nanotechnology and cancer treatment: Do we need a reality check?

Cancer treatment has been a poster-child for nanotechnology for almost as long as I’ve been involved with the field.  As far back as in 1999, a brochure on nanotechnology published by the US government described future “synthetic anti-body-like nanoscale drugs or devices that might seek out and destroy malignant cells wherever they might be in ...

6 mins

Could some nanoparticles inflict harm across normally tight biological barriers?

A new paper published on-line today in Nature Nanotechnology hints that some nanoparticles could cause damage to cells on the other side of normally tight barriers – such as the blood brain barrier or the placenta – without actually crossing the barriers.  It’s a study that could raise concerns over the safe  medical use of ...

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