Exotic Nanomaterials Claimed Their First Major Workplace Injury | Motherboard: What makes it a big deal, and potentially so dangerous, is that ordinary stuff like nickel or titanium have extraordinary properties at the nano scale. They have very different physical and chemical properties than the same material at even the micro size. And there are many different types of nanomaterials, including fullerenes (aka buckyballs), quantum dots, carbon nanotubes, and all manner of nanoparticles.
“It’s impossible to test every nano product for its safety,” said Journeay.
Many aren’t required to be tested because nanoscale nickel, titanium dioxide, and many other nanomaterials have the same molecular structure at the nano and megascale. Even though the sought-after properties of nano nickel or titanium may be wildly different than when they’re pea-sized, they are considered the same by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal nano regulator.