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June 5, 2007

July Issue of Consumer Reports Includes Article on Nanotechnology

Lynn L. Bergeson

The July 2007 issue of Consumer Reports includes an article entitled “NANOtechnology: Untold Promise, Untold Risk.” According to Consumer Reports, while nanotechnology “promises to be the most important innovation since electricity and the internal combustion engine,” “some applications might pose substantial risks to human health and the environment.” The article states that nanomaterials are already being used in consumer products such as car wax, computer chips, and sunscreen, and that approximately $2.6 trillion worth of goods worldwide are expected to use nanotechnology by 2014, up from $50 billion in 2006. Consumers Union (CU), the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, concludes that the responsibility for protecting consumers rests mainly with government and industry.  In particular, CU believes that the government should provide more funds for risk research and regulation, and that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should assess safety information on nanoingredients in cosmetics, food additives, and other products before they are sold, and should require manufacturers to report health problems linked with those ingredients. The full article is available in the July 2007 issue of Consumer Reports.