December 28, 2008

Protects skin, eats steal?

I'm not ordinarily inclined to become alert or alarmed about stories aimed at alerting and alarming the populace at large.

While others get their knickers in a knot over genetically modified produce and product, for example, for my money, nanotechnology is more exciting in a good and a bad way.

Nanotechnology sounds pretty spiffy, but it's not exactly new, and future applications are airy-fairy, ill-defined. Mostly stuff, like much of what we hear reported from medical science, will never come to fruition in a town near you or me.

Sunscreens, much touted as an essential accessory to protect humans from the death rays of the sun, not to mention premature aging, contain nanoparticles, which might turn out to be a boo-boo.

"The tricky thing for sunscreen makers is this: the two key sun-blocking ingredients, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, come in relatively big particles not easily rubbed into the skin.

Since 1990, makers have pulverised them into nanoparticles 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair or 200 times smaller than a blood cell. This gets rid of the white residue.

But laboratory tests have established that nanoparticles of metal oxides can penetrate cells and damage DNA."

That's not really the bit that got my attention though. Far more alerting and alarming was finding out that sunscreens containing nanoparticles damage steel - in a big way.

"BlueScope Steel has recommended its workers avoid some sunscreens after hand and finger-shaped damage was detected on some steel products.

It seems installers had left nanoparticle sunscreens on the steel and in six weeks it caused damage equal to 15 years' weather damage."

Holy crap: we're told to put this shit on our skin, as often as possible?

[BTW: Sub-editors must all be on holiday, or perhaps made redundant prior to Xmas: note the cumbersome, klutzy headline.]

Holidaying feds leave bathers waiting for suspect sunscreen list

1 comment:

  1. Iatrogenic substances are very scary. You're better off just taking sun in moderation.