Sunday, February 28, 2010
Consumers in the United States are being exposed to steadily increasing levels of novel and untested substances as a result of their contact with consumer products containing nanoparticles. Hundreds of consumer products are being marketed for human consumption, including food, dietary supplements, cosmetics and sunscreens. This expanding market ignores the growing scientific understanding that nanoparticles can create unintended human health and environmental risks. This Article discusses the public health, regulatory, legal and ethical issues raised by the developing appreciation of the health risks associated with nanotech products.
The Article proposes alternative methods of regulating nanotech products that better protect public health while encouraging technical innovation. These proposals are based on lessons learned from past introductions of new chemicals and innovative technologies such as asbestos, PCBs, DES, Thalidomide, medical X-rays and Benzene that all had serious, long-term public health consequences.