Are Nanoparticles a Danger to Health and Environment?
Nanoparticles are extremely fine particles created in the field of nano-technology. They are supposed to enhance the quality of life. Sporting goods, fabric, clothing, cleaning products and cosmetics can all include nanoparticle application to improve the performance of the consumer product.
The question of the safety of nanoparticles in common consumer products is still quite new. With nanoparticles becoming more and more common, the issue of product safety rears its ugly head again.
We find ourselves in a culture and market where the protocol seems to always be: let's try it out and see if it kills us. This goes a long way to explain why recalls of toys with lead paint, tainted food products, and even defective furniture happen so often. Rather than testing to make sure it is first safe before putting it onto the market, the manufacturer-to-consumer chain seems to be sustained by the assumption that just about anything is safe until proven otherwise.
In the marketplace, consumers are basically guinea pigs; the canaries in the coal mine. Once people start dropping dead, then intervention occurs, but before that, it's business as usual. Sure, all companies big and small have a department in research and development while Consumer Reports independently tests products. But so many new products enter the market each year that no individual organization or any government authority can possibly test everything to ensure its efficacy and safety.
The irony lies in the fact that consumers are the ones who actually pay for the various products. As such, the one who supports the market by making purchases is simultaneously also the one most vulnerable. There's the saying that "Consumer is king" which really isn't true, as we become the ultimate testers. These days, manufacturers and corporations rule the marketplace as they decide what and how to produce the goods that will yield the highest profit margins.
Meanwhile, the best we can do is stay vigilant about what we buy and consume. The Consumer Product Safety Commissions is a reliable site for information about recalled products. Child Product Safety is functional though by no means comprehensive. Then, there's the Household Products Database, both informative and credible.
It seems to take a good deal of effort to live well and safely, but seeing that the alternative isn't acceptable, it's best we learn about all the tools and resources we can find, to make the best possible decisions when we're in the marketplace.