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Europe Thinks Nanoparticles Need More Tests

If you haven't heard of nanoparticles before, get ready, because they're getting big in the beauty world. Nanoparticles are actually teeny tiny particles that are made to penetrate and improve the effects of various cosmetic products. However, is this relatively new technology toxic? That's a topic of much debate these days. Because these types of particles, which are so minute, can pass through cells in the lungs and other organs rather easily, this raises much concern regarding their safety.

And now, in a very-ahead-of-the-game type move, Europe will require safety standards for cosmetic products that use nanotechnology beginning in 2012. "Everyday cosmetic products containing nanomaterials. . . will at last be subject to rules on authorization, safety testing and labeling," German Green Party member Hiltrud Breyer said. Kudos to Europe for your forward-thinking rules. I can't help but wonder when the U.S. will be next. Ahem, America?


Join The Conversation
goatimpact goatimpact 8 years
I think the worry is not because they are so small they can pass into things but rather, we don't know how they act. Nanoparticles are so fascinating because they work at the quantum level. They have different properties than larger particles of the same compound. Many universities have nanotechnology centers funded by the NSF that studies these nanoparticle phenomena and most of these centers do have a public outreach requirement for the funding. Hopefully, these centers can help dispel some of the fear that popular media has started, like that Michael Crichton book. How well does the FDA regulate cosmetics currently? It seems like a lot of claims such as reducing cellulite or wrinkles aren't really tested.
sofi sofi 8 years
Is it just me, or does Europe have better regulations on their products? It seems like they do more of the research and err on the side of caution more than in the US. Just something I notice but it may look like the opposite to someone in Europe :shrug: There is such a rush to get the 'newest and revolutionary' out, but how can we know if it is effective or safe without at least ten years of research and follow-up.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 8 years
The cancer council in Australia produces sunscreen with nanoparticles in it. And I LOVE it! It's called invisible zinc and its just nano sized particles of zinc oxide. I don't see the problem with nanoparticles as long as its thoroughly researched and approved by the right organisations.
macgirl macgirl 8 years
First, I must say this scares me a bit. Secondly am I the only one that thinks the picture with this story looks like a screenshot from a bad "adult" film? "Oh Sara, your test tube is so big"... sorry in advance if that offended...
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Interesting but kind of scary.
shayela shayela 8 years
it's so weird seeing in the context of beauty...i'm taking a nanotechnology-related class, and i'm always reading about its uses for curing cancer in rats and such. haha.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
it improves by not just sitting above the face. It makes foundations look more natural. It sorta scares me since everything causes cancer.
subversivedoe subversivedoe 8 years
how exactly does it improve cosmetics/ work?
BeautyTalk BeautyTalk 8 years
Finally they are taking some steps. Questions have been raised about the safety of nanoparticles already for years! I read several articles where they say special labelling should be introduced to keep consumers better informed. Great!
hyzenthlay20 hyzenthlay20 8 years
I just have to add (as a chemistry teacher this bugs me) that EVERYTHING is toxic (including water). Every substance has a level at which it is considered toxic to humans. What matters more is what that toxicity level is . . . if it is low enough that someone risks coming anywhere near it by using the products, then we should definitely be wary of the product.
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