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Reader's response to article "Common metal oxide nanoparticles damage and kill cells"

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Dear Editor,
Recently your site posted an article by David Liu highlighting “Common metal oxide nanoparticles damage and kill cells” based on a study done in by X.Q. Zhang of Southeast University in Jiangsu, China. Generalized assertions like this are misleading at best and sensationalizing at worst. Toxicological studies are performed frequently on multiple substances to determine their safety, and such studies are necessary for gathering proper exposure data. However, just because a substance can be shown to be toxic, doesn’t mean it is hazardous. 

Dose matters. Any substance, even water, can be considered a poison when exposure is excessive in a specific period of time. Two aspirin a day are beneficial, but 10 days’ worth at one time is deadly. The rule applies to in vitro testing for mutagenic and carcinogenic levels as well. Dose matters.

Additionally, the protocols used to evaluate such toxicity are highly variable, yet critical to the assessment of determining the likelihood of exposure, the path of exposure, and at what dose. More informed research can be found in a recently published study on nano scale titanium dioxide particles by researchers Woodruff, et al at the National Center for Toxicological Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, “Genotoxicity evaluation of titanium dioxide nanoparticles using the Ames test and Comet assay”.

The researchers point out the numerous flaws in various test protocols for assessing DNA damage and proper biological assay to assess the mutagenic potential of chemical compounds, specifically in this case, nano structured titanium dioxide. The conclusion: nano particle TiO² is not genotoxic in either the Ames test or Comet assay.
I suggest that Food Consumer.Org article writers refrain from hyperbolic topic headlines attached to well-intended research.
Best regards,
Stewart Averett
EcoActive Surfaces, Inc.
551 NE 27th Street
Pompano Beach, Florida 33064 USA
Toll Free 1.877.876.8080
Mobile 954.383.2383

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