Nanotechnology is the next frontier in consumer awareness of its use in food. Nanoparticles are extremely small, approximately 1000 times thinner than a human hair. Friends of the Earth describes their size in their report Nanoparticles in Baby Formula:
The most commonly used nanoparticle in foods is titanium dioxide. It is used to make foods like yogourt look whiter and to reduce caking in dry goods. Some manufacturers are investigating the replacement of fat molecules with nano water droplets in products like mayonnaise and ice cream.
Friends of the Earth tested six popular American baby formulas to find that all contained nano-sized structures, yet no mention of the technology was listed on the label. The advocacy group cautions that “the same properties exhibited at the nanoscale that make these materials attractive for use in the food industry may also result in greater toxicity for humans and the environment.”
Currently, there are no regulations or labels specific to nanotechnology-based health and food products. My quest for sunscreen without nanoparticles in the last few years required careful research. Nanomaterials have been a boon to the cosmetics industry. Consumers love highly transparent sunscreens, light-diffracting cosmetics, and moisturizers with enhanced absorbability.