Study Compares Asbestos and Nanomaterials



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Crocidolite Asbestos, Nanotubes and Carbon Black Compared in Recent Study

A Toxicology Sciences article published in its March 2011 edition, compares pulmonary toxicity between nanomaterial (which is extremely small material used in a variety of products and medicines), crocidolite asbestos and carbon black (a material often used in rubber and plastic products.) The research was a collaborative effort involving various organizations, including the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the U.S. Department of Energy, which shows an increasing interest by NIOSH in nanomaterials. The study was conducted by injecting the three materials into mice, and the related results indicate:

  • Lungs of mice injected with certain types of carbon nanomaterial showed the ?most profound inflammatory changes.?
  • Fibrotic responses (scarring) were greatest in mice injected with the carbon nanomaterial.
  • With regard to histopathology and biochemistry, however, there were ?no overt signs of toxicity or stress for the duration of the study."

It appears that additional testing is needed. For example, additional testing could provide insight as to whether the tissue-level pulmonary response to nanomaterials are similar to crocidolite asbestos fibers.

The Toxicology Sciences article is entitled, ?Comparative Proteomics and Pulmonary Toxicity of Instilled Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes, Crocidolite Asbestos, and Ultrafine Carbon Black in Mice? and can be found in Toxicology Sciences 120(1), 123-135 (March 2011). Authors of the study are Justin G. Teeguarden, Bobbie-Jo Webb-Robertson, Katrinia M. Waters, Ashley R. Murray, Elena R. Kisin, Susan M. Varnum Jon M. Jacobs, Joel G. Pounds, Ricahrd C. Zanger and Anna A. Shvedova.


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