Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Big Picture on Nanoparticle Safety

Credit: olly/Adobe

Credit: olly/Adobe

By Laurence Macia & Wojciech Chrzanowski

Nanoparticles are found in our food, cosmetics and tattoo inks, but regulations for their use aren’t keeping up with new research questioning their safety.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

When Laura first wakes up, she makes a cup of white coffee with her capsule coffee machine. She then has a shower, uses some deodorant, applies a facial moisturising cream and foundation powder, brushes her teeth and puts on some lipstick, which she will reapply many times during the day. She is not so hungry as she had too much ice cream yesterday, so she will buy an iced doughnut on her way to the university. Outside, the sun is already up in the blue sky so she grabs some sunscreen to protect her skin. After a short walk she arrives for her chemistry class on food additives.

Laura is a bit distracted as she has friends coming over tonight and plans to make an amazing cake she saw on TV. To make this cake she will need to add 5 grams of titanium dioxide powder (food additive E171) that she purchased on the internet. She is not sure what it is, but it should be safe as she saw it on TV and the cake looks so white and great that she has to have it.

For her lunch break Laura buys a chicken and mayonnaise sandwich that she will eat on her way before she meets her boyfriend William, who is about to get his first tattoo. This tattoo will cover a significant part of his upper arm. He is a bit stressed and doesn’t have much appetite today. He just had a snack and now chews nervously on some gum before Laura joins him in the tattoo studio.

While the...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.