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Thread: Carbon Nanofibres/tubes (CNTs)

  1. #1 Carbon Nanofibres/tubes (CNTs) 
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    I just wondered if anyone here had any opinion on the possible toxic effects of CNTs on exposed individuals. From what I can see, they seem to be just like our old friend asbestos.

    I have done a little bit of reading and I couldnít find all that many papers on the topic, except for a few decent reviews, one which suggested more studies using microscopy.

    Dose anyone here have any experience working with carbon nanotubes or even asbestos? I think personally that new materials like this should be looked at particularly because they are promising to be very useful materials but there isnít much use if they cause pulmonary fibrosis.

    Iíd be interested to see any views,

    Damien.

    Carbon Nanotubes: A Review of Their Properties in Relation to Pulmonary Toxicology and Workplace Safety, Ken Donaldson et al, TOXICOLOGICAL SCIENCES 92(1), 5Ė22 (2006)


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  3. #2  
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    Its funny you mentioned this, we talked about this in one of my classes the other day.

    I'm not expert on Carbon nanotubes but I do no that there is no scientific link between Carbon nanotubes and asbestos. None!

    The truth is that there is not conceret evidence that carbon nanotubes pose a serious heath risk, and to be fair there is not conceret evidence to suggest that they do not. Like any new substance, we should be treating them with care and respect.

    For some reason there are certain groups of people who are opposed to nanotechnology on an moral or almost religous level, which I do not understand. And instead of attacking the science behind nanotechnology, they went on a huge marketing campign linking nanotechnolgoy with asbestos. The idea is that when humans are introduced to new unfamiliar things, we tend to assoiciate them with experiences that we have. And that inital framing plays a huge role in our perception to the new thing. Here you admit that you don't know much about CNTs, but you know a lot about asbestos, and that asbesos is dangerous.

    A good paper on this issue is:
    Scheufele, D. A. (2006). Messages and heuristics: How audiences form attitudes about emerging technologies. In J. Turney (Ed.), Engaging science: Thoughts, deeds, analysis and action (pp. 20-25). London: The Wellcome Trust.
    http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/g.../wtx032691.pdf


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  4. #3  
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    The truth is that there is not conceret evidence that carbon nanotubes pose a serious heath risk.
    I disagree, I have found a few sources which suggest that there is evidence that at least some CNTs do pose a risk to health, especially chronic exposure. This gives a good reason to treat them with respect especially in a working environment where chronic exposure is an issue.

    I'm not expert on Carbon nanotubes but I do no that there is no scientific link between Carbon nanotubes and asbestos. None!
    My post may have been implying a direct link between CNTs and asbestos in a pure chemical sense, but what I was really getting at was a possible link between mechanisims of toxicity which is similar between both.

    Asbestos causes pulmonary fibrosis as a result of being fibres which cannot be removed via conventional immune responses deep in the lung. One parameter of asbestos which results in this toxicity is its insolubility. CNTs are also very insoluble and they form fibres together. In that respect they are very much linked with asbestos from a toxicological point of view.

    It has been shown that CNTs can cause Granulomas, grouping together of immune cells, which is directly linked to fibrosis.
    For some reason there are certain groups of people who are opposed to nanotechnology on an moral or almost religous level, which I do not understand.
    The issue you raise concerning moral objections and unfounded correlations is quite interesting, I havenít come across these myself in this area but I have been unfortunate enough to see similar campaigns regarding biological developments in recent years. I think itís a shame that people cloud the publics view with such campaigns.


    A paper on pulmonary toxicity in mice can be found here. They sum up the points nicely with the discussion if youíre interested in reading. I think itís a free source too. http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/77/1/126

    Pulmonary Toxicity of Single-Wall Carbon Nanotubes in Mice 7 and 90 Days After Intratracheal Instillation. Chiu-Wing Lam et al.
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