For the last few years we have been educating consumers about the impacts of GMOs. While GMOs are still deeply concerning and we are continuing to push manufacturers to remove them, companies are developing and using nanoparticles, a new technology that is equally concerning. Nanotechnology allows scientists to engineer nature at the atomic and molecular level, creating nanoparticles. Similar to GMOs, these new technologies are being released into our environment and our food without regulations and adequate safety testing. Nanoparticles are cause for concern and it is important that we let companies know we don’t want nanoparticles in our food, clothing, health care products, or cosmetics.
Here are the top 5 things you need to know about nanoparticles:
- They are unregulated. The use of nanotechnology is currently unregulated by the FDA, meaning it does not go through an approval process or adequate safety testing before entering our food system.
- They are really really small. Nanoparticles are 1000 times thinner than a human hair. The size of the particles means that they interact with our bodies and the environment differently than normal particles.
- They pose a threat to human health. These tiny particles can flow freely through our bodies, potentially getting into places that they aren’t mean to, such as the gut wall, bloodstream, organs, and cells. Recent research shows that these tiny particles are a potential toxin and the long-term impacts of ingesting them or putting them on our skin are unknown.
- They pose a threat to the environment. Just as the implications for humans aren’t fully known these tiny particles post a great risk to the environment. They have the ability to enter into our waterways and environment, damaging helpful microbes and moving up the food chain from smaller to larger organisms.
- They aren’t labeled. Nanoparticles are not required to be labeled, making it difficult for consumers to avoid purchasing products that contain them. There are however ingredients that are more likely to be in nano form and should therefore be avoided. Products such as sunscreen, toothpaste, cosmetics, and infant formula are all likely to contain nanoparticles but they can also be found in toys and clothing.
Want to know more? Here are some resources to learn more about nano and its environmental and health implications.