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Posted: May 26, 2006
Nanoparticles were not the cause of health problems in Germany
(Nanowerk News) According to the findings of the Federal Institute for Risk Assesment (BfR) in Germany, nanoparticles are not the cause of the health disorders, in some cases severe, which occurred after using so-called sealing sprays. Based on the information from manufacturers and chemical studies commissioned by BfR, the products do not contain any nano-sized particles. The term “nano” in the product names is intended far more to draw attention to the wafer-thin film that forms on the surface of glass or ceramic after the spray-application of the products. More than 110 incidents of, in some cases severe, health disorders were notified to the poison control and treatment centres and BfR at the end of March 2006 after consumers had used the products Magic-Nano-Glasversiegeler (glass sealer) and Magic-Nano-Keramikversiegeler (ceramic sealer) in spray cans with a propellant. Initially it was thought that nano particles were involved in the intoxications.
Immediately after the occurrence of the first cases, BfR set out obtaining the exact formulation of the products from the manufacturers in order to establish the causes of the incidents. An expert meeting with the companies responsible for manufacturing the sprays at BfR on 23 May 2006 revealed that the products do not, in fact, contain any nano particles (particles below a size of 100 nanometres). This was also confirmed by chemical analyses commissioned by BfR from two specialist laboratories. Hence, nano particles are not a potential cause of the health problems experienced by users.
The extent to which other components in the products caused the symptoms has not yet been fully elucidated. However, there is no doubt that the same liquid, which does not contain any nano particles either, was sold for several years as a pump spray without any health impairments being notified. Taking into account ongoing studies another expert meeting at BfR will aim to identify, the toxic mechanisms responsible for the disorders that occurred after inhaling the aerosols.
Thanks to the rapid reaction and excellent cooperation between the poison control and treatment centres, BfR and other federal authorities, competent regional authorities and the corresponding institutions of industry and the retail trade, the suspicious products were removed from the market across Germany in the space of just a few days. This prevented further intoxication cases. The safety network established in Germany has proved its worth.