'Nanoparticle' risk study centre opens in Capital

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A RESEARCH centre set up to ensure the safe use of nanomaterials which are found in everything from medicines and suntan lotion to cosmetics and food was due to be launched today.

Edinburgh Napier University's new Centre for Nano Safety has been set up to identify whether a variety of nanoparticles can enter the human body – as well as other species such as bacteria, insects and plants – and cause harm.

Nanomaterials, which are a thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, have been developed to perform a variety of roles, including stain resistance in clothes, preservatives in food and cancer treatment in drugs.

A range of the everyday products use nanotechnology including antibacterial socks, disposable razors, tennis rackets, shower filter cartridges, car polish wax and suntan sprays.

Professor Anne Glover, chief scientific adviser for Scotland, said: "Given the widespread use of nanomaterials, it is essential for us to fully understand them and their potential impacts."