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Home > Focus > Nano-pollutants and a Research Strategy

Nano-pollutants and a Research Strategy

di Jonathan Hankins [1], 23 Marzo 2012

As a follow up to my recent post entitled A Research Strategy For Engineered Nanotechnologies [2] I would like to point readers towards an article published in Science News this week.

My article reviews a document entitled 'A Research Strategy for Environmental, Health and Safety Aspects of Engineered Nanotechnologies' and looks at recommendations drawn in order to develop a health and safety research strategy regarding the production and use of nano-particles.

The Science News article written by Janet Raloff is titled "Nanonpollutants Change Blood Vessel Reactivity" [3] and describes new research that demonstrates that exposure to nano-sized particles can impair the responsiveness of very tiny blood vessels in animals.

Microvascular physiologist Timothy Nurkiewicz of West Virginia University in Morgantown has been conducting experiments on rats, exposing them to nano-particles to see if their blood vessels dilate in the same way as rats with no exposure, and he has found changes that although small "equate to a level of impairment that would preclude affected tissues from functioning normally".

The particles he used were of Titanium Dioxide and are commonly used in cosmetics and sunscreen. The doses were not considered to have been given at toxic levels, but a difference in dilation was measured that seems to "offer further demonstration that air pollutants can impair cardiac function".

Further details of Dr Nurkiewicz's work can be found on his website [4], including an explanation of these very tests. In a line taken from his website he states that nanoparticle toxicity is under-investigated although the particles are in every-day use, an argument that the authors of the Research Strategy also made and a problem that should be addressed.

Interested readers should also read the 2007 interview given by Christine Peterson [5] of The Foresight institute of Nanotechnology conducted by Jeff Ubois and available here on our website. Peterson addresses many of the issues raised in these two recent posts.


(photo: Rami R M Louca - 'Flower' [6] by Engineering at Cambridge from Flickr)

Mostra/Nascondi i link citati nell'articolo

Link citati nell'articolo:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] /en/focus/2012/03/a_research_strategy_for_engine.html
  3. 3] http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/339240/title/Nanopollutants_change_blood_vessel_reactivity
  4. 4] http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/ccrs/Investigators/nurkiewicz.asp
  5. 5] /en/ubois/2007/02/christine_peterson_of_the_fore.html
  6. 6] http://www.flickr.com/photos/cambridgeuniversity-engineering/5201035931/
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cc - photo by Engineering at Cambridge


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