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April 2006

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From:
Ivan Handler <[log in to unmask]>
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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date:
Sun, 9 Apr 2006 19:01:44 -0500
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Chemical & Engineering News Home
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Latest News

April 7, 2006

PRODUCT SAFETY
Nanotech Consumer Product Recalled in Germany
Glass-treating spray containing nanoparticles may have medical problems in
many consumers
Ann M. Thayer

On March 31, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) issued
a warning against using a household product containing nanoparticles that
has led to what is apparently the first recall of a nanotechnology-based
product. In a period of less than two weeks, regional poison control
centers in Germany received about 80 reports of people coughing or
complaining of fever and headache, and several people were hospitalized
with pulmonary edema, after using "Magic Nano" surface-sealing sprays.

Cleaning-roduct manufacturer Kleinmann GmbH, which packages and sells the
sprays, quickly withdrew aerosol formulations that also contain a
propellant and warned against their further use. The company has sold the
products in pump bottles for more than two years and has had no reports of
problems. The sprays are designed for treating glass and ceramic surfaces
to make them water- and dirt-repellant for easier cleaning.

Magic Nano products contain silica and silicone nanoparticles as well as
ethanol, water, and other ingredients, according to the poison control
center GIZ-Nord. Although Kleinmann did not name specific suppliers
involved, it has partnered with nanomaterial producer Nanopool, along with
companies spun off from the Institute for New Materials in Saarbrucken.

According to BfR, it seems that users had "inhaled components of the spray
which had remained in the ambient air as fine particles of the aerosol."
The exact cause of the health problems and any connection to the
nanoparticles or propellant have yet to be established, BfR points out.
Kleinmann says it and its suppliers are cooperating with authorities to
understand and clarifyuse of the problem.

Organizations seeking better risk assessments, if not outright controls,
for nanomaterials responded quickly to news of the recall. Placing the
blame on the nanoparticles, Patrick Lin, research director of the
Nanoethics Group, says, "This should serve as a wake-up call to regulators,
industry, and the public that nanotechnology’s risks are not just
theoretical, but all too real."

Taking a more cautionary position, Richard Denison, senior scientist at
Environmental Defense, asked, "Isn't it time we learned to understand and
address risks before we market products like these to consumers?" The
public interest group wants to see more research into environmental,
health, and safety risks along with associated regulatory policies.
Meanwhile, it is working with DuPont to create a framework for the
responsible development, production, use, and disposal of nanomaterials.

Chemical & Engineering News
    ISSN 0009-2347
    Copyright © 2006 American Chemical Society


Copyright © 2006 American Chemical Society


Ivan Handler
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