Science advice in the public interest


A blue-ribbon scientific panel has waved a yellow flag in front of a rapidly expanding number of products containing nanomaterials, cautioning that the tiny substances might be able to penetrate cells and interfere with biological processes. The warning is contained in a report from the Council of Canadian Academies released publicly today. It is one of the most authoritative to date in this country about the risks of engineered nanomaterials, which companies are adding to products ranging from sunscreens to diesel fuels. The council is an independent academic advisory group funded by the federal government, but operating at arms-length from Ottawa. The 16-member panel that wrote the new report include some of Canada's leading scientists and top international experts on nanomaterials, including Richard Gold, Director, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Professor in McGill's Faculty of Law and Peter Grütter (FRSC) Professor in the Department of Physics.