The number of consumer
products using nanotechnology has more than doubled, from 212 to 475, in
the 14 months since the Wilson Center's Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies (PEN) launched the world's first online inventory of
manufacturer-identified nanotech goods in March 2006. Noted as a resource
for advertised or labeled nanotechnology products in an article in the July
2007 issue of Consumer Reports magazine, the newly updated PEN list is
available free at http://www.nanotechproject.org/consumerproducts. It
includes clothing, cosmetics, bedding, jewelry, sporting goods, nutritional
and personal care items. It is searchable by product name, product
categories, company name, and key words in product descriptions.
- Nanoscale silver is the most cited nanomaterial used. It is found in 95
products or 20 percent of the inventory. Carbon, including carbon
nanotubes and fullerenes, is the second highest nanoscale material
- The food and beverages category, including containers and dietary
supplements, doubled to 61 products since last year.
- Merchandise from 20 countries is now represented. The United States
leads internationally with 52 percent or 247 consumer products that
contain nanotechnology. East Asia now boasts 123 products, a 58 percent
increase over last year.
- New products in the inventory include the Corsa Nanotech Ice Axe which
uses an innovative Sandvik Nanoflex(R) steel alloy that's 20 percent
lighter than normal steel and up to 60 percent stronger. There's also
Maat Crystal Clear Nano Silver -- a clear liquid dietary supplement
which peddles protection against colds, flu, and hundreds of diseases,
While polls show most Americans know little or nothing about
nanotechnology, in 2005 nanotechnology was incorporated into more than $30
billion in manufactured goods. By 2014, Lux Research estimates $2.6
trillion in manufactured goods will incorporate nanotechnology -- or about
15 percent of total global output.
"The use of nanotechnology in consumer products and industrial
applications is growing rapidly, with the products listed in the inventory
showing just the tip of the iceberg," said Project on Emerging
Nanotechnologies Science Advisor Andrew Maynard. "How consumers respond to
these early products -- in food, electronics, health care, clothing and
cars - - will be a litmus test for broader market acceptance of
nanotechnologies in the future."
Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and
manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers (nm). A nanometer
is one billionth of a meter. A human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers
wide. The limit of the human eye's capacity to see without a microscope is
about 10,000 nm.
The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies is an initiative launched by
the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable
Trusts in 2005. It is dedicated to helping business, government and the
public anticipate and manage possible health and environmental implications
For information about the Center, visit http://www.wilsoncenter.org.