Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nanotube risk assessment

Abstract:
Italian scientists suggest that we need a much more detailed toxicological approach to hazard assessment before judgement regarding the long-term safety of carbon nanotubes can be made. They outline their results in the International Journal of Environment and Health.

Nanotube risk assessment

Italy | Posted on September 21st, 2009

Although nanotechnology is a relatively new field of research, already there are claims that its products could be harmful to human health and damaging to the environment. In particular, concerns have been raised about the safety of carbon nanotubes, minute hollow fibres of the carbon. Carbon nanotubes are just one group of materials being developed under the umbrella term of nanotechnology, which focuses on materials comprising particles between 1 and 100 nanometres in size. A nanometre is a billionth of a metre.

According to Enrico Bergamaschi of the Department of Clinical Medicine, at the University of Parma Medical School, carbon nanotubes are among the most promising nanomaterials, with potential in engineering, molecular electronics and as drug-delivery agents that could significantly reduce side-effects for countless medications.

In spite of their innovative properties, the small size of carbon nanotubes has led some observers to hypothesize that they may have similar detrimental effects to the sooty particles from vehicle exhausts known as PM10 particulates. Others suggest that toughness and fibrous nature of carbon nanotubes is reminiscent of asbestos fibres and follow the same fibre paradigm.

Bergamaschi and colleagues point out that carbon nanotubes are a recent invention only now finding commercial applications and so clinical and epidemiological evidence for any long-term effects they may have on human health are entirely lacking.

The researchers explain that, despite the occasionally exaggerated headlines seen in the media regarding research studies into the effects of nanotechnology, their novelty means that no one has yet established whether they represent a long-term health risk, or whether they can exacerbate certain pre-existing medical conditions.

"As more of these materials are produced, there is an urgent need to refine strategies to assess their possible effects on employees who represent the main exposed population, along with characterizing exposure, so that appropriate safety regulations can be put in place if needed," says Bergamaschi.

Accepted and standardised tests and models have been set up and are in place to allow for an evaluation of any new chemical or material against existing benchmarks and to categorise their associated risk level, the team explains. However, we don't know whether they also work for such a heterogeneous class of nanomaterials.

As such, researchers have already demonstrated acute toxic effects caused by inhalation of carbon nanotubes. Several teams have focused on the way these substances interact with our cells at the molecular level. Their small size and surface chemistry and reactivity are the most important factors affecting their biological interactions and toxicity as they could remain intact in the lung or, after systemic translocation, in other organs for extended periods. However, it is common to modify the surface of carbon nanotubes for specific applications by adding different chemical groups. On one hand this seems to reduce cytotoxicity, and increase their metabolic clearance, but on the other doesn't necessarily allow cells to break down such structures more readily.

Nevertheless, the Parma team, having reviewed all the available data, suggests that in order to meet an acceptable level of certainty regarding the safety or otherwise of carbon nanotubes, we should combine experimental, clinical and epidemiological evidence. They add that it is time to set up preventive measures as well as assess the need to implement periodic health examinations of employees exposed to carbon nanotubes.

Full bibliographic information
"A toxicological approach to hazard assessment of carbon nanotubes: implications for workers' health protection" in Int. J. Environment and Health, 2009, 3, 249-263

####

About Inderscience
Inderscience is a publisher of high quality peer-reviewed international journals in the fields of science, engineering and technology, management, law and business administration, computing, Internet and IT, and energy, environment and sustainable development.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Inderscience

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Researchers identify structural changes that occur in enveloped viruses before invading host August 21st, 2018

Magnetic antiparticles offer new horizons for information technologies: Computer simulations reveal new behavior of antiskyrmions in gradually increased electric currents August 21st, 2018

Energy-efficient spin current can be controlled by magnetic field and temperature: SCMR effect simplifies the design of fundamental spintronic components August 20th, 2018

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

Preparing for Nano

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years: Targeted medicine deliveries and increased energy efficiency are just two of many ways October 26th, 2016

Searching for a nanotech self-organizing principle May 1st, 2016

Nanotechnology is changing everything from medicine to self-healing buildings: Nanotechnology is so small it's measured in billionths of metres, and it is revolutionising every aspect of our lives April 2nd, 2016

Durnham University's DEEPEN project comes to a close September 26th, 2012

Nanotubes/Buckyballs/Fullerenes/Nanorods

Nanotube 'rebar' makes graphene twice as tough: Rice University scientists test material that shows promise for flexible electronics August 3rd, 2018

Carbon is the new black: Researchers use carbon nanotubes to develop clothing that can double as batteries July 10th, 2018

Nano-saturn: Supramolecular complex formation: Anthracene macrocycle and C60 fullerene June 8th, 2018

Unzipping graphene nanotubes into nanoribbons: New study shows elegant mathematical solution to understand how the flow of electrons changes when carbon nanotubes turn into zigzag nanoribbons June 6th, 2018

Announcements

Researchers identify structural changes that occur in enveloped viruses before invading host August 21st, 2018

Magnetic antiparticles offer new horizons for information technologies: Computer simulations reveal new behavior of antiskyrmions in gradually increased electric currents August 21st, 2018

Energy-efficient spin current can be controlled by magnetic field and temperature: SCMR effect simplifies the design of fundamental spintronic components August 20th, 2018

Color effects from transparent 3D printed nanostructures: New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D print templates for user-given colors Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference August 18th, 2018

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Nanoscience and the future of healthcare kick off first day of ACS national meeting in Boston: Presidential events highlight safety, diversity and groundbreaking research August 2nd, 2018

FEFU scientists reported on toxicity of carbon and silicon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers: Nanoparticles with a wide range of applying, including medicine, damage cells of microalgae Heterosigma akashivo badly. July 18th, 2018

Nanomaterials could mean more algae outbreaks for wetlands, waterways: High tech metal particles may inadvertently take a toll on aquatic life June 26th, 2018

NIOSH Releases New Nanotechnology Workplace Design Recommendations March 13th, 2018

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project