Popularity and Danger of Nano-Particles

Essays > Science, IT, Nature

A look at the latest scientific excitement about nano-particles and their side effects on the human body.

It’s called one of the more recent discoveries but it is a little known fact to the general populace that nano-particles were already used by Mesopotamian craftsmen in the 9th century CE to create a glitter effect on glazed bowls and pots.

Nano-particle research is currently an area of intense scientific interest due to a wide variety of potential applications in biomedical, optical and electronic fields. However, as Terence Newton of Waking Times asserts, “most people have no idea that they are consuming and absorbing ENP’s [nano-particles]. Research is discovering that certain ENP’s may be toxic and extremely harmful to human health, causing cell and DNA damage, potentially leading to the development of cancers.”

Nano-particles are microscopically sized particles with at least one dimension less than 100 nano-meters (nm). To put this in perspective, a sheet of paper is about 100,000 nm thick, and a strand of human DNA is about 2.5 nm thick.

Nano-particle Container
Nano-particle Container

It seems nano-particles sneaked up on consumers in the same way as genetically modified food – it is rather startling that they are now found in sunscreens, toys, clothing, food, food colourings and food packaging, drugs, candy, cosmetics, (including mineral make-up which is peddled with huge advertising campaigns), ceramics, paints, glare proof coatings on sunglasses, and many other common products; they have become an ubiquitous part of our toxic consumer environment. Used as elements for easy absorption, they are introduced into the body where they can cause tissue damage.

Newton further states, “Some food activists have already called attention to the dangers of the commonly used nano-particle titanium dioxide, noting that the “form of the common ‘whitening’ agent known as titanium dioxide is capable of inducing “tumor-like” changes in exposed human cells. It is found in products produced by Jello, Nestlé, M&M’s, Mother’s, Mentos, Albertson’s, Hostess and Kool Aid.

“Previous concerns have largely been focused on cell damage in the human body, however, a new study from MIT and the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) indicates that certain ENP’s may in fact directly damage human DNA, a concern that should have manufacturers and regulators immediately halting the use of nano-particles in consumer products.

“The researchers found that zinc oxide nano-particles, often used in sunscreen to block ultraviolet rays, significantly damage DNA. Nano-scale silver, which has been added to toys, toothpaste, clothing, and other products for its antimicrobial properties, also produces substantial DNA damage, they found.

As worldwide cancer rates continue to rise, these results are extremely alarming, especially in light of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent prediction that human cancer rates will rise a staggering 57% in just the next 20 years.”

Read more at Waking Times
Bhagawati

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