High-level experts meeting last week in Brussels, Belgium, at a conference of consumer groups from the European Union and the United States, say that finding reliable information about products containing nanomaterials is becoming increasingly difficult.
Products containing nanoparticles often do not mention this on their labels and other products falsely claim to have enhanced their products with nanotechnology.
Dr. Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) at the Woodrow Wilson Center, is concerned that the controversy surrounding nanotechnology, and whether or not it is safe, has led manufacturers to remove any mention of nanomaterials from their products.
"We have seen some companies drop the 'nano' claim while continuing to use nanotechnology. This suggests nanotechnology is going underground," he said. Another expert, Harald Throne, a researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research in Norway, believes that companies are becoming less inclined to highlight nanomaterials in their products, as they may now view "nano" as a negative label rather than an added value.
Steffi Friedrichs, director of the Nanotechnology Industries Association disagrees, saying that there is confusion over the definition of nanotechnology - consumer groups define something as "nano" if is it smaller than 300 nanometers, while industry uses less than 100 nanometers - and claims that industry has been upfront about its use of the technology.
Friedrichs said "[V]arying definitions leads to claims that the industry is not open with information. But nobody is lying and nobody is misleading the public or authorities. Let's agree on what we're talking about and work together to inform consumers."
The original article may still be available at http://www.euractiv.com/en/science/nanotech-claims-dropped-fear-consumer-recoil/article-183183
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