Nanoparticles can’t be seen by human eyes. But their emissions are a possible hazard for humans and the environment in which we live.
Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Massachusetts are claiming in a new study that engineered nanoparticles are able to accumulate within plants and damage their DNA, according to a report carried on TMCnet.
In addition, an advocacy group – Friends of the Earth – claims studies have raised many other issues about the safety of nanoparticles and how they could lead to “unpredictable immune responses,” FOE said.
One study cited by FOE claims that sunscreens carrying manufactured nanoparticles could hurt human and environmental health, the FOE says. They could potentially damage colon cells, penetrate adult skin, hurt microbes in the environment, and make their way to fetuses, FOE claims. They also pose risks as they are found in cosmetics, FOE said.
They are also found in agricultural chemicals, building equipment, cleaning products, clothes, food packaging, health supplements, household appliances, industrial catalysts, paints, sporting goods, and surface coatings, according to a report from FOE.
With these kinds of potential risks, nanoparticles need to be measured by precise instruments. TSI’s (News - Alert) NanoScan SMPS helps investigators learn more about nanoparticles. They certainly are small. A nanomaterial which measures 100nm is about 800 times smaller than the width of a single strand of hair, FOE said.
The device can reveal, too, if workers are being exposed to these tiny particles in workplaces, if students are getting exposed in schools, or if residents are impacted by them in their homes.
The NanoScan SMPS is portable (and battery powered) and is as small as a basketball. Also, measurements can be taken in field locations or on highways, workplaces or in the field. The device can reveal if nanoparticles are coming from emissions or are naturally occurring, too.
“The NanoScan SMPS offers investigators interested in worker exposure an option that was not previously available: affordable nanoparticle size measurement,” Kathy Erickson, an application specialist at TSI, said in a recent TSI press release.
Edited by Jennifer Russell