If you’re one of those people that can often be found in the food aisles of grocery stores reading labels and looking for ingredients you can’t pronounce and don’t want to eat, you’ve most likely noticed several ingredients that, unbeknownst to you, are made using nanotechnology—a process that converts silver, copper, gold, aluminum, silicon, carbon, and metal oxides, among other metals, into atom-sized particles that are one-billionth of a meter in size.
Commonly used nano-sized ingredients include titanium dioxide, which may be the most well-known additive. Others, such as silicon oxide, calcium carbonate, iron oxides and hydroxides, calcium silicate, tricalcium phosphates, and synthetic silicas, are only a few of the additives that may be in your pantry right now.
A New Ingredient
Nanotechnology has become widely used in food production and manufacturing since the 1990s, and its components are unimaginably small—one-hundredth the size of a strand of human hair. They make our food more colorful, brighter, creamier, or crunchier, and they keep it fresher for longer as well.
Nano-sized additives also make some of our medicines more effective.
Nanotechnology is used in the manufacturing of everyday products, such as electronics, food and food packaging, medicine, toys, clothing, sunscreens, cosmetics, dietary supplements, and much more.
While they can provide a myriad of benefits, these increasingly popular product enhancers come at a price, according to consumer groups and health experts—and that price is our health.