The researchers stated, “The rapid expansion of nanotechnology has resulted in a vast array of nanoparticles that vary in size, shape, charge, chemistry, coating and solubility. Take carbon nanotubes, for example, which have been intensively studied because they have new and unusual mechanical, electronic and other properties.”
They added, “The potential toxicity of these materials has attracted attention because of their apparent similarities to asbestos and other carcinogenic fibres. Carbon nanotubes are long, thin (just nanometres in diameter) and insoluble — all factors that contribute to fibre toxicity in the lungs. A study by Andre Nel of the University of California, Los Angeles and co-workers now suggests that the hazards are best predicted by examining which nanomaterials cause most oxidative injury within cells.”
The 2008 pilot study of the Donaldson team provides a good indication into the potential problems that could be caused by carbon nanotubes. Further studies are needed to verify the team's conclusions and to perform more detailed studies of the potential association of nanotubes and cancer.
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