Unbeknownst to many, consumer products are maybe filled with invisible killers, known as nanomaterials. These do not show up in the list of ingredients in the food, cosmetics, or clothes that people buy, but it could be more dangerous than COVID-19 in the long term if no safety action is taken, a new study reveals.
The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, shed some light on the unseen and unseeable world of nanomaterials. They are difficult to measure and could enter the food chain, which alarmingly penetrates the cells and accumulate in organs.
Nanotechnology Is Changing People's Lives
Nanotechnology is the science of building things at a size of an atom or molecule. Its current innovations have been changing the lives of many people and the world in general.
It has the potential of becoming the next industrial revolution as the global market for nanomaterials is growing and estimated to cost about 20 billion euros for 11 million tons. In Europe alone, the current direct employment in nanomaterial production alone is estimated between 300,000 and 400,000.
Nanotechnology produced nanomaterials that are used in eradicating many diseases. According to SciTech Daily, Engineers are developing 100 times stronger materials than steel, batteries that could last ten times longer, solar panels that yield twice the solar energy, advanced skin products, and self-cleaning cars, windows, and clothes using nanomaterials.
Nanomaterials Enter the Food Chain
Sky News reported that the researchers in the study had found a way to trace the nanomaterials across the aquatic food chain. Nanomaterials bind with microorganisms, which are the food source of other organisms, such as fish, and then enter their blood and tissues.
"We found that nanomaterials bind strongly to microorganisms, which are a source of food for other organisms, and this is the way they can enter our food chain," University of Eastern Finland's Dr. Fazel Monikh explained.
"Once inside an organism, nanomaterials can change their shape and size and turn into a more dangerous material that can easily penetrate cells and spread to other organs.
The researchers said that they found nanomaterials accumulated inside the organs, especially the brain, of an organism they investigated.
Nanomaterials In Consumer Products
Measuring chemicals for regulation involve measuring their mass. However, nanomaterials are so small that it is difficult to measure them only by mass. The study reveals the importance of assessing the risk of nanomaterials before they are introduced to consumer products.
Policymakers should create stricter guidelines on nanomaterials' use and the way these materials are listed in product ingredient labels, Phys.org reported.
Dr. Fazel A. Monikh said that nanomaterials could be found in food, clothes, cosmetic products, and others with its popular use. Despite that, they are not listed in product labels because they remain unregulated as they are so small that they cannot be measured by mass once they are in products.
But people have the right to know what they are using and buying for their families, Monlikh said. The problem with nanomaterials is a global problem that needs a global solution.
Check out more news and information on Nanotechnology on Science Times.