Ask a Scientist: Can Nanotechnology Be Used to Improve Current Household Products?

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That's an excellent question. The proposed use of nanotechnology to improve the appearance and texture of sunscreens is something that's been done. Nanoparticles have been used in sunscreens for at least the last decade. Those are typically based upon titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. And although the nanoparticles are small in size, they're sufficiently large that they can scatter light and absorb light to be effective sunscreens. There are also several potential risks with using nanoparticles in sunscreens. And each of those potential risks is being diminished by the fact that the particles can be coated to prevent the photocatalytic activity. They've also been found not to penetrate the skin deeply.


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Nano expert Karen Wooley from Texas A&M University discusses how nanotechnology can improve everyday life by enhancing current household products. Part of the “Ask a Scientist” series.

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