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Product recalls are costing companies and insurers billions, and the numbers are expected to increase.

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Word-cloud-nanoparticles Unlike asbestos, which is usually contained, nanoparticles can be found anywhere in anything. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Nanotechnology is a relatively new technology with the potential for significant impact on society. Nanoparticles have been around for hundreds of years, but the invention of microscopes that can see atomic-sized particles made it possible for scientists to develop a wide variety of uses.

Nanoparticles are extremely small. They are generally from 1 to 100 nanometers, that is, one-billionth of a meter. A two-nanometer-size particle is more than 10 billion times smaller than a red blood cell. For perspective, a human hair is 20,000 nanometers.

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