Nanotechnology Project


Nanotechnology: Sold in a Store Near You!

Online Nanotech Consumer Products Inventory Grows to Over 300 Items: food, cosmetics, auto, household, electronics, sporting goods…

WASHINGTON—Looking for the future? Skip the Kennedy Space Center, Bell Labs, and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Search instead for nanotechnology consumer products sold on the Internet and everywhere from Sharper Image, Brooks Brothers and L.L. Bean stores, to Bloomingdale’s, Circuit City and local Mercedes-Benz dealerships.

Want to find out more about the consumer products which manufacturers identify as using nanotechnology or nanoscale materials? Log on to the nanotechnology consumer products inventory developed by the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies:

It’s free, easy to use, and it has just been updated to include over 320 items. What products are new since the nanotechnology consumer products inventory was first launched in March 2006?

  • Food storage bags and containers available through Sharper Image which the company claims are “infused with naturally antibacterial silver nanoparticles.”

  • Bed linen sold at JCPenney guaranteeing the “ultimate nanotechnology performance” and a “breathable sheet that’s engineered to keep you cool and comfy.”

  • “NANO B-12 Vitamin Spray” about which the manufacture says “your children will love the taste, it’s like candy.”

  • A dietary supplement that promises youth-seeking buyers “the highest bioavailability with a first-ever nanotechnology process and advanced levels of key anti-aging nutrients in a comprehensive formula.”

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold its first public meeting on FDA-regulated products containing nanomaterials on October 10, 2006. FDA has limited authority over regulating certain categories of products—including many of the products claiming to use nanotechnology found in the Project’s online inventory. For example, there is no pre-market approval of cosmetic products or their ingredients, except color additives.

Currently, there are about 30 products in the U.S., and a total of 58 products from around the world described in English as “cosmetics” in the Project’s nanotechnology consumer products inventory. A similar inventory in Japan contains over 86 nanotechnology cosmetic products sold in that country alone.

The inventory is limited to consumer products only, which are clearly identified by manufacturers or distributors as nanotechnology-based. It does not include industrial uses or applications of nanotechnology.