Nanoparticles and Free Radicals
Penetration of tiny particles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide into the epidermis, in conjunction with or separate from the generation of free radicals compounds the potential hazards of nanoparticles
The photocatalytic properties of nanoparticles was pointed out in a January 2008 paper
published in Progress in Organic Coatings that discussed the rapid deterioration of roof coatings in areas where roofers had transferred their sunscreen to roof surfaces.
Sunscreens containing nanoparticles of TiO2 were found to generate hydroxyl radicals upon exposure to UV and water.
A recent in vivo study
in mice showed that “subcutaneous placement of coated TiO2 nano particles can convert clones of regressive mouse fibrosarcoma cells with no metastatic potential, into aggressive tumour cells with metastatic ability. It was thought that sub-lethal exposure to TiO2 nanoparticles may allow the surviving tumour cell population to be transformed into more aggressive fibrosarcoma cells.”
Since TiO2 is used in industry for its ability to generate free radicals, it’s not too surprising that sunscreens containing TiO2 may be problematic. The last study cited indicates that substances like TiO2 may be particularly lethal in nanoparticle form.
The sun gives us life—but too much can damage your skin and cause serious health problems.
Respect the sun for the powerful radiation source it is, and moderate your exposure.
Nanoparticles image via ZeitNews
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