"By Rick Weiss
Post Staff Writer Washington
Thursday, April 6, 2006; Page A02
Government officials in
have reported what appears to be the first health-related recall of a nanotechnology product, raising a potential public perception problem for the rapidly growing but still poorly understood field of science. Germany
At least 77 people reported severe respiratory problems over a one-week period at the end of March -- including six who were hospitalized with pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs -- after using a "Magic Nano" bathroom cleansing product, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment in Berlin.
Symptoms generally cleared up within 18 hours, though some had persistent breathing problems for days."
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The product, called "Magic Nano," is distributed by Kleinmann GmbH in Sonnenbühl, Germany. The company itself reported about 30 cases of customers who reported health problems. Specific information about an additional 80 cases can be found on the web page of the Giftinformationszentrum-Nord at the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
Kleinmann GmbH and its suppliers are researching the potential causes of the health problems. Regardless of the findings, this issue will certainly provide further ammunition to those promoting a more thorough public debate about the potential harmful effects of nanotech.