Human World

Jennifer Kuzma urges consumer transparency for nanoproducts

Jennifer Kuzma: Be aware that nanotechnology is out there. It can have great benefits, but that there will be some risks inevitably.

That’s Jennifer Kuzma with the Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota. Kuzma studies the impact of nanotechnology – the engineering of materials at the atomic scale – on the food we eat. She’s an expert on nanotech regulation in the U.S.

Jennifer Kuzma: The current level of oversight is basically ‘stay the course’ – regulate them under existing laws.

Nowadays, you see the word ‘nano’ used in advertising. But products using that word may not be made with nanotechnology. Meanwhile, actual nanoproducts don’t need to be identified as such. Kuzma said that’s a problem.

Jennifer Kuzma: Nanoparticles, or nanomaterials can penetrate through tissues, biological systems, more readily – they can penetrate cells, the nuclei of some cells.

She thinks better consumer information is needed for products made with nanotechnology.

Jennifer Kuzma: You can’t currently get the information that you need to get in order to evaluate those risks and benefits and make your own informed choices.

Thanks today to the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service National Research Initiative Program and Cornell University.

Read more: An inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products currently on the market.

Our thanks to:
Jennifer Kuzma
Center for Science, Technology, and Public Policy
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN

March 17, 2009
Human World

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