At the end of March, a new bathroom cleaning product called MagicNano was released onto the German market. Within only a few days, almost 80 people had suffered respiratory complaints and six people had been hospitalised with fluid on their lungs.
Nano-watchers were quick to raise the question of whether this is the first example of a harmful nanotechnology product. This time, at least, it does not appear that nanotechnology is to blame. MagicNano was released in two versions: a pump spray and an aerosol spray. While the product inside the packaging was identical, only the aerosol spray caused respiratory problems. So it seems likely that the problem is down to the propellant in the aerosol.
This finding will not give much comfort to anyone. Companies making products that include nanoparticulates would very much like firm guidance from governments as to what tests they need to perform to demonstrate their product is safe. Governments, meanwhile, seem to be waiting for advice from scientists.
Has all the magic gone?
Apr 12th 2006
A nanotechnology product is recalled in Germany after health concerns (more...)