High double-digit growth expected in nanotech cosmetics market

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nanotechnology Ultraviolet

The market for cosmetics using nanotechnology is expected to grow
significantly over the coming years despite continued concern about
the safety of the technology.

Nanotechnology is being used increasingly in the personal care industry to develop sunscreens and anti-aging formulations. The global market for cosmetics using nanotechnology is currently valued at $62m and is forecast to grow annually by 16.6 percent reaching $155.8m by 2012, according to a BCC Research report (NANO17D). The market research company listed sunscreens as one of three applications in the biomedical, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry that are expected to account for 95 percent of the market in 2012. Nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide are used in sunscreens to increase UV light absorption and make formulations transparent- ultimately making them more appealing to the consumer. Sunscreens made using nanotechnology are already popular and new products are flooding onto the global market. On a global basis the number of sunscreens using nanotechnology has risen from 18 in March 2006 to a current level of 27, according to a product inventory compiled by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center. While the market for cosmetics containing nanoparticles is going from strength to strength scientists remain uncertain about the safety of nanotechnology. A recent nationwide survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison indicates that scientists are more concerned than the public about the potential health and environmental risks of nanotechnology. Over 30 percent of scientists interviewed expressed concern that nanotechnology may pose risks to human health, while only 20 percent of ordinary people shared their fears. Scientists are concerned that inadequate research has been carried out on the safety of nanotechnology although specific hazards have not been identified. Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating the properties of tiny particles, normally 1 to 100 nanometers, and has a broad range of applications from computer chips to personal care. A human hair is 80,000 nanometres (nm) wide, a red blood cell 7,000 nm wide, and a water molecule 0.3 nm wide.

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