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Buckyball face cream safety questioned in C&E News

Readers who know me personally know that I’m usually pro-free enterprise and pro-nanotech. But I was surprised to see on the market a face cream containing buckyballs, with little mention (either by the producer or in the press) of the obvious question of safety. The March 2006 Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report called such concerns “alarmist.”

Now, finally, we see a piece in Chemical & Engineering News by Bethany Halford raising this issue:

“I first learned about Zelens, which costs around $250 for a 30-mL jar, in late January at an international nanotoxicology meeting. Curious if a couple hundred nanotoxicology experts were as surprised about this product as I was, I asked the audience who among them would feel comfortable using this product. By a show of hands, fewer than 10 indicated that they would.”

The manufacturer says they have done safety studies. I will need to see them before recommending the use of this product. Very few cosmetics users realize how poorly cosmetics are regulated in the U.S.

Why does this matter, other than the obvious possible effects on users of this one product? Sooner or later there will be a “nanotech” product which is found to be unsafe. It would be better if it’s as “later” as possible — say, after a successful cancer treatment is approved — to avoid an over-reaction by the public against nanotech in general. —Christine

4 Responses to “Buckyball face cream safety questioned in C&E News”

  1. Patrick Says:

    I was also very alarmed when I saw that product…my chemistry professor had mentioned buckyballs as the most recently discovered form of carbon, then mentioned it’s carcinogenic properties…maybe whatever is in the buckyball stabilizes it…?

  2. Simon : Think twice about early nanotech cosmetics Says:

    [...] Think twice about early nanotech cosmetics Christine Peterson at the Foresight Institute has highlighted how cosmetics are now available on the market with nanoscale particles. While she’s “pro-free enterprise and pro-nanotech,” she’s concerned about the unknown risks of nanoscale particles and the public relations nightmare that could result if some nanotech cosmetic product was found to be dangerous. Says Peterson:I was surprised to see on the market a face cream containing buckyballs, with little mention (either by the producer or in the press) of the obvious question of safety. The March 2006 Forbes/Wolfe Nanotech Report called such concerns “alarmist.”I’m with Peterson here, who notes how poorly cosmetics are regulated. I’m all for nanotech research, development and application. But since many questions remain about the environmental and health impact of nanoscale particles, I think it’s a bit too early for people to be slathering buckyballs all over their face. Published Thursday, April 06, 2006 12:10 PM by Simon Filed Under: News [...]

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Brilliant comments on avoiding over-reaction by the public. I hadn’t thought of that predicament, and up until now I assumed safety measures would ultimately get in the way of rapid progress. Perhaps those words would be heard louder with those who consider these opinions “alarmist”, myself included.

  4. K.A. Parker Says:

    I have used this product on just one side of my face and the results were amazing! I can see a marked difference after using it once three weeks ago. I am thinking about buying this product (if only to even out the results on my face). Are you telling me that this product is unsafe? If so, how can it sold in the USA?

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