EDF Health

Regulating nano-silver as a pesticide

John BalbusCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

In May 2008, the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) submitted a petition to EPA requesting that it regulate nano-silver used in products as a pesticide under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).  The petition calls on EPA to take the following specific actions:

  1. Classify nano-silver as a pesticide.
  2. Determine that nano-silver is a new pesticide and require its registration as such.
  3. Analyze the potential risks of nano-silver to human health and the environment.
  4. Take enforcement actions against nano-silver-containing products being sold illegally without EPA approval under FIFRA. Read More »
Posted in Health Policy, Nanotechnology, Regulation / Tagged , , , | Read 8 Responses

Nano’s Rapid Transit System

John BalbusCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

In 2004, Gunter Oberdorster and colleagues demonstrated that upon inhalation, ultrafine particles, the dimensions of which are measured in nanometers, can move from the nasal passages of rodents to the brain via a specialized nerve called the olfactory bulb.  The evolutionary purpose of the olfactory bulb is to relay information about odors directly and rapidly from the nose to the brain.

The extent to which rapid transit via the olfactory bulb is a significant potential route of exposure to engineered nanomaterials is still an open question.  But two new papers add support for the relevance of this intriguing exposure pathway, raising important questions regarding the safety of inhaled nanoparticles.

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Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science / Tagged , , | Read 3 Responses

Down the Drain, then Down the Hatch

John BalbusCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

Can nanoparticles get into our drinking water and if so, what’s the harm?

Nanoparticles are being used in cosmetics and other personal care products with increasing frequency.  Carbon fullerenes, also known as buckyballs, have recently been touted as imparting age-defying antioxidant benefits when added to skin cream.  And there are some studies that seem to support these claims.  But even if such claimed benefits turn out to be true, this is by no means the end of the story.  Read More »

Posted in Nanotechnology / Tagged , | Comments are closed

A. Length, B. Metals, C. Oxygen, D. Surface, or E. All of the Above?

John BalbusCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

The manufacture of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is a very complicated business.  Different production processes leave behind different kinds of metal catalysts, which yield differences in physical and chemical – as well as toxicological – properties of the CNTs.  Read More »

Posted in Health Science, Nanotechnology / Tagged , | Comments are closed

Rebuilding the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Nano Tool Box

John BalbusCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

I have just finished reading yet another depressing/infuriating publication by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies. The new report delineates the many limitations faced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in addressing nanotechnology health risks.  The law governing the CPSC has significant weaknesses that prevent it from meeting critical needs, such as constraints on the ability to collect data, require reporting of known hazards, order recalls and promulgate mandatory safety standards.

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Posted in Health Policy, Health Science, Nanotechnology, TSCA Reform / Tagged , , | Comments are closed

Sticking Point: Nanotechnology, Lizard Feet, and Taping Grown Men to the Ceiling

John BalbusCal Baier-Anderson, Ph.D., is a Health Scientist.

We often think of nanotechnology as the latest product of ultra-modern science, but humans did not invent the nanoscale. We were not even the first to use materials with nanoscale features: The gecko beat us to it by several million years. Even more impressive, this little reptile has managed to use nanoscale materials apparently without experiencing any ill effects. It remains to be seen if we will be able to do this.
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Posted in Health Science / Tagged , , , , | Read 3 Responses