And now comes nanophobia, the fear that tiny components engineered on the nanoscale â€” that is, 100 nanometers or less â€” could run amok inside the body. A human hair, for example, is 50,000 to 100,000 nanometers in diameter. A nanoparticle of titanium dioxide in a sunscreen could be as small as 15 nanometers. (One nanometer equals a billionth of a meter.)
â€œThe smaller a particle, the further it can travel through tissue, along airways or in blood vessels,â€ said Dr. Adnan Nasir, a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. â€œEspecially if the nanoparticles are indestructible and accumulate and are not metabolized, if you accumulate them in the organs, the organs could fail.â€
Our society thinks profit first, consequences later. So we pay, time and again, and now we don’t trust — if nanophobia is crap, it’s grounded on past experiences that weren’t.