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New briefing from Corporate Watch on the first generation of nanotechnology prod

Nano Geek | 17.07.2007 09:58 | Technology

New briefing from Corporate Watch on the first generation of nanotechnology products in the UK

“Nanomaterials: Undersized, unregulated and already here”

The briefing explains:

- what nanotechnology and nanomaterials are,
- how and why nanomaterials are made,
- which companies develop and manufacture nanomaterials,
- how nanomaterials are used commercially in the UK

It contains the most comprehensive inventory to date of nanomaterial based products sold in the UK. Research for the briefing suggests that well over 100 nanomaterial based products are currently available to the public in the UK, including:

- sunscreens
- cosmetics
- clothing
- construction materials
- sports equipment
- health care products
- food packaging
- domestic appliances
- transport

The briefing outlines the toxicity and wider social and environmental issues associated with nanomaterials. It also summerises the current state of nanomaterial regulation in the UK and beyond.

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that nanomaterials pose a unique and as yet poorly understood range of toxicity issues. Their impact on human health and the environment is far from understood. There are also concerns about the potential social and economic impacts of nanomaterials.

Despite these very real concerns, regulation has yet to be introduced anywhere in the world to deal with the specific set of problems that nanomaterials raise. The UK government remains unable, or unwilling, to introduce nanomaterial regulation instead favouring voluntary arrangements with industry. The use of engineered nanomaterials continues to expand and accelerate ahead of regulation. As a result both the public
and environment are increasingly exposed to a new potentially dangerous class of materials which remain unlabelled and effectively unregulated.

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