Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


android tablet pc

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

First Observation of Electronic Structure in Ag-Rh Alloy Nanoparticles Having Hydrogen Absorbing: Storage Property –Attempting to solve the mystery of why Ag-Rh alloy nanoparticles have a similar property to Pd– October 30th, 2014

Iranians Present Model to Predict Photocatalytic Process in Removal of Pollutants October 30th, 2014

Production of Biocompatible Polymers in Iran October 30th, 2014

Amorphous Coordination Polymer Particles as alternative to classical nanoplatforms for nanomedicine October 30th, 2014

Preparing for Nano

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

Technical Seminar at ANFoS 2012 August 22nd, 2012

Nanotechnology shows we can innovate without economic growth April 12th, 2012

Thailand to host NanoThailand 2012 December 18th, 2011

Nanotubes/Buckyballs

Tiny carbon nanotube pores make big impact October 29th, 2014

Materials for the next generation of electronics and photovoltaics: MacArthur Fellow develops new uses for carbon nanotubes October 21st, 2014

Special UO microscope captures defects in nanotubes: University of Oregon chemists provide a detailed view of traps that disrupt energy flow, possibly pointing toward improved charge-carrying devices October 21st, 2014

Imaging electric charge propagating along microbial nanowires October 20th, 2014

Announcements

First Observation of Electronic Structure in Ag-Rh Alloy Nanoparticles Having Hydrogen Absorbing: Storage Property –Attempting to solve the mystery of why Ag-Rh alloy nanoparticles have a similar property to Pd– October 30th, 2014

Iranians Present Model to Predict Photocatalytic Process in Removal of Pollutants October 30th, 2014

Production of Biocompatible Polymers in Iran October 30th, 2014

Amorphous Coordination Polymer Particles as alternative to classical nanoplatforms for nanomedicine October 30th, 2014

Safety-Nanoparticles/Risk management

Nanosafety research – there’s room for improvement October 29th, 2014

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms October 18th, 2014

Human health, wealth require expanded marine science, experts say: In Rome, European experts publish a 'common vision' of priorities for marine research and action through 2020 October 9th, 2014

Coating Nanotubes with Aluminum Oxide Lowers Risk of Lung Injury October 6th, 2014

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





  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More














ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







© Copyright 1999-2014 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE