Nanotech! WOOT! What?
September 29, 2012 2:18 PM Subscribe
How can I tell if a product I'm about to buy contains nanotech materials? Are there labeling requirements (in the U.S.)? Can I tell by the chemical names? For any ingredient that's listed, can I tell if it's a nano-version of that material, as opposed to regular sized molecules? What consumer products are actually using these materials now?
posted by Corvid to technology (19 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm seeing many gee-whiz stories in science and product news of developments in nanotech materials that can potentially do truly amazing things. I'm duly impressed and excited, but: haven't we been here before, all excited about the wonderful things that a new technology could do before we stopped to think about the not-so-good things that it could also do? I grew up when using the fluoroscope in the shoe store was a great way to make sure my shoes fit right (and SO fun to play with while we waited), and I wore a plastic dry-cleaning bag with Donald Duck printed on it as a Halloween costume in the days before that bag was NOT A TOY). So I'm a little cautious and skeptical about this new nano-stuff which, along with all the very cool things it can do, can maybe go right through all those inconvenient cellular barriers in the skin, lungs, gut and brain. I already have enough autoimmune diseases, and I'd like to minimize additional, optional exposure to strange new substances.
When I buy something, I would like the opportunity to know whether or not it contains any nanomaterials, so I can choose whether or not the extra features in that product are worth the risk of exposure to something we don't yet really understand.
I'm getting a little nervous when I see all these common consumer products that are suddenly anti-bacterial, water repellant, wrinkle free, stainproof, smudgeproof, and otherwise magical. I've tried researching this a bit, and what I see makes me even more uncomfortable (and exhausted -- I've spent many hours reading at much greater depth than I want, without finding the seemingly simple answers I'm looking for). Can anyone with knowledge of the field tell me how to find this stuff out?