In the News

The nano state: Can tiny engineered particles help protect us from infectious disease?

Hotel rooms, subway cars, offices, airplanes, cruise ships: to most people, the air they breathe inside these places seems benign, if sometimes stuffy and stale. But viewed through the lens of public health, these shared environments sometimes teem with airborne pathogens.

Controlling infectious disease remains one of the most vexing problems in the field, and some of the toughest, most resilient bugs are the ones that survive in air. Among these are the viruses that cause influenza (with their constant mutations, a moving target for vaccines) and the mycobacterium behind tuberculosis (an increasingly drug-resistant agent that kills some 1.3 million people worldwide each year).

Nanomaterials In Food: Is It Safe To Eat Nanoparticles?

Do you know what you’re eating? The number of American food products containing nanomaterials has increased tenfold since 2008, said a report released this week, reviving concerns about the miniscule particles and their place on our plates.

The Friends of the Earth environmental group, which conducted the study, reports that its researchers found unregulated, “unlabeled nano-ingredients” in dozens of popular food products ranging from Oreos and Twinkies to Kraft American Singles and Betty Crocker Mashed Potatoes.