Chemical & Engineering News reports that a German cleaning product called ‘Magic Nano’ has performed a disappearing act. (Also see the Washington Post and MIT Technology Review articles). After reports that the aerosol formulation of this product has resulted in coughing fits and breathing difficulties for some consumers, the German Federal Institute of Risk Assessment issued an alert and the manufacturer, Kleinmann GmbH, recalled the product.
There seems to be some debate spreading across the internet (see: Slashdot; SciGuy; Cientifica; Nanodot; Nanotechwire) about just what is in this product and what may be to blame for the health problems. No adverse effects have been reported for other products in the ‘Magic Nano’ range, such as the pump-spray, so what is to blame – is it the nano or not? Kleinmann suggests that the anti-corrosion liquid inside the aerosol may be responsible, but it is inevitable that others will question whether nanoparticles are the culprit.
Let’s hope this incident sparks some more healthy (rather than hysterical) debate about the environmental impact of nanotechnology. The rage probably won’t last a 1,000 years and let’s hope it will soon be done.
Stuart Cantrill (Associate Editor, Nature Nanotechnology)