Editorial Feature

The Impact of Nanomaterials on Human Health

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Nanotechnological risks are usually linked with objects capable of independent action—a concept that is still part of the world of science fiction. However, the possible risk of hazards with respect to the development of novel material, already available on the market or to be launched soon, is relatively more crucial to evaluate.

Potential Impacts of Nanomaterials on Human Health

As a result, virtually all existing studies correspond to the possible effects of nanomaterials on health. These may include selectively engineered nanomaterials and already existing nanomaterials from combustion or natural sources. The risk of health hazards would not only have an impact on consumers but would also happen in the workplace environment. There is a need for additional exposure data of consumers, workers, and the general population.

Published Studies on the Toxicity of Nanomaterials

A nanomaterial can be described as a material with at least some proportion of nano-elements. Specialists divide these into general nanoparticles and the so-called fullerenes or nanotubes.

With respect to the possible risks of nanotechnologies on health, two major studies have been reported. One is concerning the exposure of nanotubes in rats at DuPont Co’s Haskell Laboratory, in Newark-Delaware; and the other at Wyle Laboratories, in Houston-Texas regarding the toxicity of carbon nanotubes in mice. These studies indicate that a few nanomaterials composed of carbon nanotubes can be toxic.

Other Studies of the Toxicity of Nanomaterials

Other studies are ongoing to examine the general health risks and possible toxicity of nanoparticles, with preliminary results in press. The exposure of humans to nanomaterials can occur in numerous forms, such as absorption through the skin, ingestion, and inhalation. These can potentially damage the human body in various ways.

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