We recently covered the discovery by British scientists that at least one nanomaterial may affect human cells at a distance. This is only one of the many human health and environmental issues associated with nanotechnology. Unfortunately, some companies are rushing to use nanotechnology without screening it for risks to human health.
Now, the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Nanotechnology Project has released a new application for the iPhone or iPod Touch: findNano. This app allows consumers to look up the Inventory with their phone to see if the product they’re looking at may have nanotechnology. Often, the ingredient list and the package doesn’t mention the presence of nanomaterials, but the Woodrow Wilson Center has gathered data from what manufacturers say about their products. Currently, the inventory lists over 1000 products, with more showing up each week.
Consumers also now have the ability to snap a picture of a product that they think has nanotechnology and send it to the Woodrow Wilson Center for investigation. We’re particularly excited by this innovation, since it gives consumers the power to ask questions of companies. This is an example of making product ingredients more transparent, as the GoodGuide Transparency Manifesto urges.
This post was written by Professor Alastair Iles is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Iles studies science, technology, and environment, with a focus on how technologies – ranging from chemistry, energy systems, environmental health monitoring, to information technology – affect society and the environment. He received his PhD in Environmental Law and Policy from Harvard University, and previously studied Law at the University of Melbourne, Australia.