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Capsules of Chemicals

Going forward, Stacey Harper says, zeroing in on the toxic impacts of using capsules and other “carriers” for chemicals will be critical to making sure current environmental protections are adequate.

Public Exposure

In 2010, the President’s Panel on Cancer reported that, in the course of their lives, about 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and 21 percent will die of the disease. And, making a connection between cancer and the wide distribution of potential carcinogens in the environment, the panel added that only a few hundred of the more than 80,000 chemicals on the market have been tested for safety.

Microcosms for Nano

Many of the products we buy — sunscreen, stain- and odor-resistant clothing, fuel additives, sports equipment — contain nanoparticles that have been designed for a purpose. These materials (about 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair) can block sunlight, prevent microbial growth, lubricate surfaces and confer tensile strength.