Recently, a highly regarded art supplies manufacturer closed up shop and sold everything to a much larger company, agreeing to reveal nothing about the deal. They had been working on nanotechnology and its use in art materials. Nanotechnology is already being used in many of the products we consume daily – we just don’t know about it. For example, nanoparticles are in medical supplies, cosmetics, clothing, cleaning supplies, even swim suits. There is tremendous potential here, but shouldn’t we be aware when we are using this technology? Unlike the traditional toxins such as lead and cadmium, there is not a requirement for the labeling of nanoparticles in art supplies, or anything else for that matter. Yet, all the same questions apply: what if a manufacturer releases nanoparticles in wastewater? What about the unknown results of mixing different nano products together, as in cosmetics and food?

Supposedly, there is work being done on an artist oil paint that will only dry when sprayed with a certain nanoparticle liquid. This could be interesting, but there are many unknowns. At the very least do we not want labeling for nano-particle art products, much like we have labeling for known toxins?