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June 14th, 2010
It's a pity though that our eyesight isn't good enough at nanometre level, for if it were, we would see that nanoparticles of precious metals like gold, silver and titanium have already made the jump from research labs to our homes. Manufactured nanoparticles are today present in thousands of consumer products around the world — silver in washing machines and water purifiers to kill bacteria, zinc in cosmetics to protect against ultraviolet rays, carbon nano-tubes in tennis rackets to make them stronger and lighter, titanium in household paints to decompose dust and grime without human intervention.
While nanosilver, on account of its bacteria killing prowess, seems like manna from heaven for consumer product manufacturers, environmentalists aren't that excited. Because, they say, not all bacteria are bad and meant to be killed.
The second charge against nanoparticles is that they affect organisms in ways not yet fully researched.
In India too there is no specific regulation on the use of nanotechnology in consumer products. Meanwhile, if you were planning to read the label of a product to discern its nano-ingredients, you'd be disappointed. That's because no regulator mandates separate listing of nano-ingredients, and therefore no manufacturer does so. In fact, many manufacturers are deliberately avoiding the word "nano" on their product labels to avoid getting caught in any controversy.
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