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Toxic Nanomaterials Have Poisoned The Food Supply, Our Bodies, And The Planet

  1. Introduction
    Nanotechnology is widely applied in our everyday life and is changing the entire society. It has begun marching into the agriculture and food industry since 2003 when United States Department of Agriculture published the first roadmap in September 9, 2003 [1]. Research on this topic has skyrocketed over the last decade. It almost covers every aspect in the food and agriculture industry, including agriculture, irrigation/water filtration, food processing and packaging, animal feed, and aquiculture [2], [3], [4], [5], [6].

The food and beverage sector is a global multi trillion dollar industry [7]. A recent estimate of the global economical impact of nanotechnology is projected to be at least $3 trillion by 2020, which may employee 6 million labors in the rising nanotechnology industries worldwide [8]. This is very attractive and has driven many food enterprises involved in development and marketing of novel nanomaterial based products, and improving production efficiency, food characteristics, taste and safety. Incredibly, there are hundreds of products that have already been marketed and used in the food business over the past decade. Majority of these products are designed “out-of-food” but “inside” food industry, i.e. food contacting materials but not directly consumed by people. No novel nanomaterials containing products have been directly put into human food yet, except titanium dioxide and iron oxide that have been used as food pigment and colorant respectively already. The fundamental reason is that regulation and legislation is very limited regarding nano food, especially due to complexity of nanomaterials and case-by-case legislating procedures [9], [10], [11].

A deeper cause for the limited regulation is the poor knowledge of toxicity and risk which novel nanomaterials could bring [5], [12], [13], [14]. Many studies focus on in vitro toxicity of nanomaterials while very little in vivo toxicity data is available, not to mention chronic effect of nanomaterials (especially metal nanoparticles, NPs) [15]. At least several gaps have to be filled: toxicity of nanomaterial to mammal cells, tissues/organs and chronic effect to human body; migration of nanomaterials to food; degradation or environmental fate of nanomaterials; bioaccumulation of nanomaterials and their impact on ecosystems.

The rapid development of nanotechnology has been facilitating the transformations of traditional food and agriculture sectors, particularly the invention of smart and active packaging, nanosensors, nanopesticides and nanofertilizers. Numerous novel nanomaterials have been developed for improving food quality and safety, crop growth, and monitoring environmental conditions. In this review the most recent trends in nanotechnology are discussed and the most challenging tasks and promising opportunities in the food and agriculture sectors from selected recent studies are addressed. The toxicological fundamentals and risk assessment of nanomaterials in these new food and agriculture products are also discussed. We highlighted the potential application of bio-synthesized and bio-inspired nanomaterial for sustainable development. However, fundamental questions with regard to high performance, low toxic nanomaterials need to be addressed to fuel active development and application of nanotechnology. Regulation and legislation are also paramount to regulating the manufacturing, processing, application, as well as disposal of nanomaterials. Efforts are still needed to strengthen public awareness and acceptance of the novel nano-enabled food and agriculture products. We conclude that nanotechnology offers a plethora of opportunities, by providing a novel and sustainable alternative in the food and agriculture sectors.


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German Electricity Prices Hit Record High As Heatwave Curbs Power Generation | ZeroHedge

Above-average temperatures throughout Germany are pushing power prices to new records as utilities reduce electricity output in western Europe amid the worst energy crisis in decades. 
National forecaster Deutscher Wetterdienst predicted a heatwave would persist through mid-August. Weather models show max temperatures will jump to mid-July levels of nearly 95 degrees Fahrenheit by Aug. 14, then slide to the low/mid 70s shortly after. 
Extreme heat and a reduction in power generation come as Europe suffers the worst energy crunch in decades thanks to Western sanctions against Russia, which has reduced the Nord Stream 1 pipeline capacity of natural gas to the continent to only 20%. This has forced some German utilities to switch over NatGas-fired generation to coal and diesel and heating oil generation — causing another crisis this week: Austrian oil and gas firm OMV AG halted crude product deliveries from storage facilities in Germany amid a “run” on supplies.
A consequence of the energy crisis will only mean electricity bills are set to rise even further. 
Customers of Germany’s EnBW will see an average of 31.1% increase in electricity bills from Oct. 1 due to utilities pushing along soaring energy costs to end users, Reuters said. 
Rising energy prices have helped push inflation in Europe’s largest economy to 8.5% in July. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has laid out a plan to support low-income households burdened by high power prices. 
… and it’s not even winter yet as some believe the power crisis in Germany and across the continent will intensify due to the lack of energy supplies. 


UK Water Restrictions Go Into Effect As Heatwave Persists | ZeroHedge

Britain has recorded one of its hottest and driest summers on record. Rivers and reservoirs are drying up as towns in the southern part of the country imposed the first hosepipe ban on Friday.
The country’s record heat in July — above 104 Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) — melted airport runways, buckled train tracks, and shuttered transportation networks, as London’s fire brigade said it had one of the busiest days since World War II. The heat dome resulted in dozens of building structure fires and wildfires. 
As of 1700 local time Friday, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight residents will be placed under emergency water restrictions called “temporary use ban.” If residents water their gardens, yards, and/or clean their vehicles, they could face a stiff penalty of up to $1,200 (£1,000). A similar ban will go into effect for residents in Kent and Sussex from Aug. 12.
“Months of sparse rainfall, combined with record-breaking temperatures in July, have left rivers at exceptionally low levels, depleted reservoirs and dried-out soils,” British newspaper The Independent wrote. 
London dodged the water restrictions for now as its large reservoirs are at “very comfortable levels,” Barnaby Dobson, a research associate on the Community Water Management for a Liveable London project at Imperial College London, told Bloomberg.
However, water reservoirs in London could slump as the metro area faces levels of drought not seen in a decade. 


UK Gas Crisis Set To Plunge British Pound To Historic Lows, UBS Warns | ZeroHedge
“Huge swathes of the British public aren’t going to be able to afford their bills this winter. Average families with two working parents will be in fuel poverty,”

Authored by Charles Kennedy via OilPrice.com,
The British pound is expected to plunge to a historically low level versus the U.S. dollar in the fourth quarter of this year, when the energy and gas crisis in the UK will worsen, according to strategists at the private banking unit of UBS Group.
“We expect GBP/USD to come under pressure this year,” Thomas Flury, head of currency research at UBS Wealth Management, and Dean Turner, UK economist at UBS Private Banking, wrote in a note carried by Bloomberg.
“The euro zone and the UK are both likely to suffer energy supply shortages this winter,” the strategists said.

Energy bills in the UK are set to surge more than expected this winter, with many households struggling to be able to pay them after Russia further slashed gas deliveries to Europe, sending gas and energy prices for the winter and for next year soaring, UK-based consultancy BFY Group said last week. 


“Situation Is Really Precarious”: World’s Largest Rice Exporter Faces Output Decline Amid Heatwave | ZeroHedge

The effects of elevated food prices have rippled worldwide and forced governments to impose price controls and trade restrictions. Price increases are due to supply constraints driven by several variables, including high energy prices, geopolitics, and weather. Ukraine restarted maritime transport of crops to the rest of the world, forcing grain prices to slip, though the food crisis is far from over. 
We pointed out in April that the next challenge for the global food supply could be a plunge in rice production (read: here). Fast forward months later, and our suspicions appear to be right as India, the world’s largest rice exporter, has seen planting areas of the crop decline by 13% due to heatwaves and drought. 
In the last two weeks, prices in India have soared more than 10% in top growing states such as West Bengal, Odisha, and Chhattisgarh due to lack of rainfall and crop output concerns, Mukesh Jain, a director at Sponge Enterprises Pvt., a rice trader, told Bloomberg. He expects export prices to reach $400 a ton by next month from $365 this week. 
Rice feeds half of humanity and is vital for political and economic stability across Asia. Supply disruptions due to potential trade restrictions by India could create shortages and rising prices elsewhere. 
There’s still hope crop output could recover as the monsoon season is expected to produce normal rainfall through September. However, some farmers sounded the alarm output is expected to drop significantly. 


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