Nanotechnology is an interesting field for a toxicologist because of the very public discussion about toxicity, regulation and the future of nanotechnology. Unlike other major technological advances in the past with the potential for health and environmental impacts, nanotechnology is developing under the virtual microscope of the internet – where citizens, researchers, regulators are able to access a great deal of information and can organize via the internet.
Below are a few new articles on the toxicology of nanomaterials and a link to a podcast "The Implications for Health, Safety and the Environment of the Nanotech Revolution."
This interesting and informative podcast sponsored by Nanotechnology Victoria (Austrailia), considers the ethics, toxicology, risk assessment, worker heath and safety. While those interviewed agree that there are data gaps in the toxicology and potential for environmental impacts of nanotechnology, they also note the potential benefits of future nanotechnology products. Views range from a moratorium on nanotechnology development, to greater government and industry resources to improve worker standards to avoid another potential “asbestos-like” disaster for workers in the field, to a call for all involved to recognize the broad range of materials to which the term nanotechnology refers.
For those interested in more technical articles on nanomaterials, below are three articles recently published in Environmental Health Perspectives describing recent toxicological research on nanoparticles.
Cardiovascular Effects of Pulmonary Exposure to Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes by Zheng Li,1 Tracy Hulderman,1 Rebecca Salmen,1 Rebecca Chapman,1 Stephen S. Leonard,2 Shih-Houng Young,2 Anna Shvedova,2 Michael
“Taken together, the findings are of sufficient significance to warrant further studies to evaluate the systemic effects of SWCNTs [Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes] under inhalation exposure paradigms more likely to occur in the workplace or environment, such as low-level chronic inhalation exposure.”
Inhalation Exposure Study of Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles with a Primary Particle Size of 2 to 5 nm by Vicki H. Grassian,1,2,3, Patrick T. O'Shaughnessy,3 Andrea Adamcakova-Dodd,3 John M. Pettibone,2 and Peter S. Thorne concludes:
“Mice subacutely exposed to 2–5 nm TiO2 nanoparticles showed a significant but moderate inflammatory response among animals at week 0, 1, or 2 after exposure that resolved by week 3 postexposure.”
Finally, an interesting article entitled Effects of Aqueous C60 Nano-Aggregates to Tetrahydrofuran Decomposition Products in Larval Zebrafish by Assessment of Gene Expression by Theodore B. Henry, Fu-Min Menn, James T. Fleming, John Wilgus, Robert N. Compton and Gary S. Sayler suggests that toxicity in this case was caused by chemicals used in the preparation of the nanomaterials, rather than the nanomaterials themselves.