Gates Foundation funds innovative global health projects including sweat-triggered vaccine delivery using nanoparticles

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced a few days ago 78 grants of US$100,000 each for new innovative global health projects. Among those aiming at more effective vaccines, one involves nanoparticles : “Sweat-triggered vaccine delivery: Carlos Alberto Guzman of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Germany with Claus-Michael Lehr and Steffi Hansen of the Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research will develop nanoparticles that penetrate the skin through hair follicles and burst upon contact with human sweat to release vaccines.” (press release)

[[[ Additional link suggested by Nanocolors :

# Nano & vaccines in patents since 2000 ]]]

Friends of the Earth new (short) report : “Manufactured nanomaterials and sunscreens : top reasons for precautions”

Friends of the Earth together with ICTA and Consumers Union released today a 10 page report entitled “Manufactured nanomaterials and sunscreens : top reasons for precautions“. According to them these reasons are :

– Nanomaterials are different from other conventionally-sized compounds

– In the body, nanomaterials have much greater access to vulnerable organs and tissues

– Increasing evidence that some nanomaterials can pass through the skin

– Senior scientists have called for mandatory premarket safety tests for nanomaterials before they are used in products

– Potential next generation harm from nanomaterials

– Potential harm to workers and the Environment

– Nanomaterials in sunscreens and cosmetics could theoretically cause skin damage over time

– Consumers can get highly effective transparent protection from harmful rays of the sun with products made without nanoscale chemical ingredients.

Further details are available in the document.

[[[ Additional links suggested by Nanocolors :

Nanotechnology & sunscreens – EWG’s 2009 investigation

# Nano-Sunscreens: Issue continues to be controversially discussed ]]]

Nano review papers for environmental NGOs by the EEB

The European Environmental Bureau is producing a series of four papers “meant to serve as a capacity building tool empowering environmental NGOs to work actively in the field of sustainable governance and use of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials.”  Already two are available online :

Challenges and opportunities to green nanotechnologies (April 2009 ; 13 p)

Nanomaterials – health and environmental concerns (July 2009 ; 17 p)

NGOs challenge claims about environmental benefits of nanotechnologies

IPEN (International POPs Elimination Network) and EEB (European Environmental Bureau), two international coalitions of NGOs, recently pointed out in a press release a “mismatch between claims and reality” concerning potential environmental benefits of nanotechnologies. According to them, ” (…) early evidence of the much greater energy demands of producing nanoparticles, the significant quantities of potentially toxic waste their production generates, and the ecotoxic behaviour of many nanoparticles themselves has cast doubt on industry claims that nanotechnology offers ‘green’ solutions to the current ecological crises (…) Without a proper and comprehensive risk and life cycle analysis to balance the current commercialisation of high-risk applications with little or no proven societal benefits, environmental costs could be high and the technology as a whole distrusted or rejected by the public.”

[[[ Additional links suggested by Nanocolors :

# Environmentally beneficial nanotechnologies – barriers and opportunities (95 p)

# Nanoparticles & ecotoxicity – volumetry in biomedical publications since 2000 ]]]

Nanotechnology & sunscreens – EWG’s 2009 investigation

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reviews the situation concerning nanoparticles in sunscreens in a dedicated section of its  2009 sunscreen guide, released today. I find particularly interesting this paragraph of their investigation’s contrasted conclusion : “When we began our sunscreen investigation at the Environmental Working Group, our researchers thought we would ultimately recommend against micronized and nano-sized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens. After all, no one has taken a more expansive and critical look than EWG at the use of nanoparticles in cosmetics and sunscreens, including the lack of definitive safety data and consumer information on these common new ingredients, and few substances more dramatically highlight gaps in our system of public health protections than the raw materials used in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology. But many months and nearly 400 peer-reviewed studies later, we find ourselves drawing a different conclusion, and recommending some sunscreens that may contain nano-sized ingredients“.

The Nanotechnology & Sunscreen section of the guide more precisely reviews the following issues :

* Safety concerns of nanoparticles

–> potential for human uptake of nanoparticles by skin absorption/penetration (for TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles)

–> dermal penetration of other nanoparticles

–> oral exposures to nanoscale zinc and titanium

–> inhalation exposures to nanoscale zinc and titanium

* Toxicity of nano-scale zinc and titanium

* Nano-scale zinc and titanium life-cycle and environmental risks

The Impact of nanoparticles section of the guide includes lists of titanium and zinc nanoparticle suppliers.

[[[ Additional links suggested by Nanocolors :

# Statement by John Bailey, Chief Scientist The Personal Care Products Council, Response to EWG’s 2009 Sunscreen Report

# ZnO nanoparticles in biomedical publications since 2000

# TiO2 nanoparticles in biomedical publications since 2000

# Industry critics give nanotechnology sunscreens the thumbs up ]]]

Focus : nanotech on NGO websites

The emergence of increasingly numerous nanotechnology applications triggers a lot of debate, especially about health, environmental and ethical issues. Several NGOs have dedicated a part of their website to nanotechnologies to express their opinions / state their positions and initiate or relay campaigns related to nanotech, for example :

-> Campaign for Safe Cosmetics : nanotechnology page and position statement on nanotechnology

-> ETC Group : nanotechnology page

-> Organic Consumers Association :  “information on nanotechnology and synthetic biology” page

Other NGOs launched satellite websites completely dedicated to their views and actions on nanotech ; two of them are already referenced on Nanocolors (the parent NGO is mentionned between brackets) :

-> Friends Of the Earth Nanotechnology Project (Friends Of the Earth Australia)

-> NanoAction (International Center for Technology Assessment)

Your comments are welcome, for example if you know other such websites 🙂

TACD Resolution on Consumer Products Containing Nanoparticles

The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) is “a forum of US and EU consumer organisations which develops and agrees on joint consumer policy recommendations to the US government and European Union (…)“. At its annual meeting last week in Brussels, it adopted a resolution on consumer products containing nanoparticles. TACD actually “believes that steps urgently need to be taken in order to ensure that products containing manufactured nanoparticles are safe and beneficial to consumers and do not lead to new human health and environmental risks“. Therefore, it considers that “the EU and US should take prompt action to address the following regulatory needs” :

1 – Agree on definitions

2 – Identify products

3 – Develop testing methodologies adapted to nanoparticles

4 – Address research gaps

5 – Develop and adapt regulatory frameworks to address the special characteristics of nanomaterials

6 – Mandatory labeling

7 – Regulate marketing claims

8 – The public should be consulted about their views on nanotechnologies

9 – Governments should establish commissions to study the social and economic consequences of the displacement of existing industries and commodities by industries based in manufactured nanoparticles.