Nanomaterials in Personal Care: Opportunities and Safety Considerations

From the column editor: Scientists are finding that particles so tiny they are barely there—nanoparticles, which have found homes in electronics, food containers, sunscreens and a variety of other applications—can breech our most personal protective barrier, the skin. Nanotechnology is a broad term, covering the building of structures and machines on an atomic or molecular scale-in the range of 1 to 100 nanometers (nm). The big issue is the behavior of substances at the nano-scale level. A substance at 500 nm can have drastically different properties than the same substance at 10 nm. The emerging field of nanotechnology involves scientists from many different disciplines, including physicists, chemists, engineers and biologists. In recent years, nanotechnology has found beneficial use in medicine, electronics, clinical laboratory analysis, imaging and therapeutics.

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