Inhaling ultrafine particles from so-called "nanomaterials" - which are used
in a growing number of household and commercial products, including sunscreens,
ink in copy machines and lightweight sporting equipment - can cause lung
inflammation and damage, a team of US scientists says.
The findings of the study - which looked at the two most common types of
engineered nanomaterials - are important because of the large quantities of
nanomaterials being used in industry, electronics and medicine, the researchers
Nanomaterials are used to make product stronger and more flexible.
Earlier studies had found that breathing nanomaterials could harm the lungs,
but this study is believed to be the first in which different laboratories
across the country produced similar results regarding the risk.
The findings should help in creating policy for the safe development of
nanotechnology, according to the authors of the study.
"This research provides further confirmation that nanomaterials have the
potential to cause inflammation and injury to the lungs," Kent Pinkerton, a
study senior author and the director of the Center for Health and the
Environment at the University of California, Davis, said in a university news
"Although small amounts of these materials in the lungs do not appear to
produce injury, we still must remain vigilant in using care in the diverse
applications of these materials in consumer products and foods."
The American Lung Association explains how to protect