Tighter UK and European regulation over some aspects of nanotechnology -manipulation of molecules – is needed to ensure its long-term safety.

A Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report said that there was no need to ban nanoparticle production.

But more formal research of them was “urgent”. Nanoparticles should also be treated as “new chemicals”, it said.

Welcoming the report, science minister Lord Sainsbury said the government response would come by the end of 2004.

Super-fine particles are already being incorporated into a number of cosmetics and composite materials to improve their performance.

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