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June 21st, 2006
Tiny particles used in some sun creams have the potential to cause neurological damage, researchers in the United States have found. The research does not necessarily imply that these microscopic grains, which are also used in consumer products such as some toothpastes and cosmetics, are harmful in the human body. But it adds to a growing body of evidence that suggests that their safety cannot be taken for granted simply because larger particles of the same substance have no ill effects.
Günter Oberdörster, a specialist in nanoparticle toxicity at the University of Rochester in New York, stresses that it is too early to say whether the findings reveal a real health hazard. "These are valuable results," he says, "but you have to be very careful about extrapolating them to live organisms."
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