Nanoparticles under the microscope.

Author:Belli, Brita

It's long been speculated that nanoparticles (particles as small as 1/1,000th of a human hair) found in more than 800 consumer products from socks to sunscreens, could pose a danger to the natural world. A new study being conducted at the University of New Haven aims to quantify just how seriously nanoparticles impact the environment. Specifically, UNH researchers are looking at the effects of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on marine ecosystems. Titanium dioxide is used as a whitener in many products, from toothpaste to candy to cosmetics.

The researchers are looking at biofilms--the green slime covering the rocks and docks in the Long Island Sound in Connecticut. The Sound is the ultimate depository of these particles which are too tiny to be blocked by filtration systems. And as innocuous as the slime seems, it plays an...

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