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Posted: January 14, 2008
Nanotechnology products banned from carrying the 'organic' label
(Nanowerk News) Products made using a cutting-edge scientific technique will not be certified as organic due to safety concerns, the Soil Association said.
Cosmetics, food and clothing made with super-fine particles called nanoparticles will be banned from carrying the pro-organic group's logo.
The Soil Association says the new technique called nanotechnology is a potential health risk. It will refuse to certify products made with manufactured nanoparticles as organic.
Nanotechnology involves manipulating material at the molecular level. At scales of a billionth of a metre, substances can behave in unpredictable ways and take on new properties. The technique is expected to lead to breakthroughs in medicine and electronics.
But the Soil Association says there is insufficient evidence about the impact of nanotechnology on the environment and human health. It says the technique is already used to make some cosmetics and sunscreens but the products are not required to carry warning labels.
The pro-organic group cites parallels between the development of nanotechnology and that of genetic modification (GM). In both cases commercial opportunities have run ahead of scientific understanding and regulatory control, according to the Soil Association.
Gundula Azeez, policy manager at the organic group, said: "The Soil Association is the first organisation in the world to ban nanoparticles. There should be no place for nanoparticles in health and beauty products or food. We are deeply concerned at the Government's failure to follow scientific advice and regulate products."
Research carried out in the US last year found that scientists were more worried than members of the public about the potential risks of nanotechnology.
Two surveys - one of adults and another of nanotechnology experts - found a greater proportion of scientists than lay-people had concerns about potential risks to human health and the environment.
The Soil Association is the UK's leading certification organisation for organic food and farming.