Giftig Nanotech?

Expect to hear more about a German bathroom cleaning product called Magic Nano which comes in the form of a batch and WC cleaner, or a glass and ceramic cleaner. The product has been linked to 77 (or 74 0r 70 depending on the source) cases of severe respiratory problems.

The Washington Post goes to town on the story, but fails to interview anyone who has any idea what they are taking about – typical quotes are along the lines of ‘although we don’t know anything about it we do know about some other things if you are interested “or “we haven’t seen it but we have seen other things.”

For any other “experts” unable to find any articles on super hydrophobic coatings on Google, or figure out what the German word ‘silicium’ means, most of the products on the German market are based on silica of various types.

Before anyone gets too worked up, it is worth rembering that many people every year end up with breathing problems after using household cleaning products, usually as a result of mixing bleach with ammonia, which in chemical terminology is 2(parts)NaOCl + 2NH3 –> 2NaONH3 + Cl2, the Cl2 being enough chlorine gas to kill you if you mix large enough quantities.

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Comments 2

  1. Jack Uldrich

    Tim,

    I agree with your comments. My concern is that this story (and others like it) could cause a “perception” problem for anything that currently carries the “nano” label.

    Jack

  2. Tim Harper

    It is easy to be caught between, on one hand the hypesters who try to link ‘nano’ to just about anything in order to justify their existence, and the anti nano camp who want to ban your iPod as well as your nanopants.

    The answer is simple – just don’t use the ‘nano’ label.

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