Nano in My Neighborhood

Today we released the findings of the Bay Area Nano Survey. Of the 129 companies that we surveyed, we received seven responses that were complete. Although we didn’t find out all the information that we requested in the survey, we did find out one thing – many companies are not willing to be transparent about how they handle nanomaterials.

I live in Santa Clara County where more that 50 percent of the companies are clustered. This made me especially worried about the lack of responses to our survey. While I was mapping the location of the companies we surveyed, I realized that a good chunk of them are located less than 3 miles from where I went to school in Palo Alto. None of these companies responded to our survey, leaving me and others who live by companies that utilize nanomaterials in the dark. Everyone has the right to know what is being done in their neighborhood, and to know what measures, if any, are being taken to ensure their safety.

Although I’ve moved from Palo Alto to San Jose, companies that are involved in nanotechnology are still near where I live, and I am still wondering what measures they are taking to protect my safety, their workers, and the environment. This is important because many nanomaterials are untested and their environmental and health impacts are unknown.

Check our map to see if there’s a company near your neighborhood and to find out more about nanotechnology (

Residents, living near nano facilities aren’t the only ones who might benefit from additional information about nano – but so would consumers. When I go shopping I like to know what are in the products I am buying.

The moisturizer I put on my face every day could contain nanomaterials, but it wouldn’t be easy for me to find out if it does. Even sunscreens that claim to not have nanomaterials contain them. Not only is labeling often not available, it is sometimes inaccurate. (

– Monica Cendejas, Project Manager

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