The updated Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory now contains 1,628 consumer products that have been introduced to the market since 2005, representing a 24 percent increase since the last update in 2010.
In addition to finding new products introduced to the market, the newly re-launched inventory seeks to address scientific uncertainty with contributions from those involved with nanomaterials production, use, and analysis.
This is the first major overhaul of the inventory, which was launched by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in 2005. This first-of-its-kind inventory tracks consumer products claiming to contain nanomaterials and has become one of the most frequently cited resources showcasing the widespread applications of nanotechnology.
The Virginia Tech Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology worked with the Wilson Center to redevelop the inventory to improve the reliability, functionality, and scientific credibility of this database. Virginia Tech’s Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science provided funding for the effort.
The re-launched inventory seeks to “crowdsource” expertise in an effort to create an inventory with more accurate information on consumer products. Registered users are encouraged to submit relevant data pertaining to nanoparticle function, location, and properties; potential exposure pathways; toxicity; and lifecycle assessment, as well as add product data and information on new products.
“We hope scientists, policymakers, and citizens will contribute new information to the inventory,” says David Rejeski, director of the Wilson Center’s Science & Technology Innovation Program. “Broad participation, especially from the scientific community, will help make the inventory more accurate and useable over time.”
In the years since its launch, the inventory has been criticized because of its lack of scientific data. To address these concerns, this update adds qualitative and quantitative descriptors, such as size, concentration, and potential exposure routes for the nanomaterials contained in consumer products. It also includes published scientific data related to those products, where available, and adds a metric to assess the reliability of the data on each inventory entry.