NORA Manufacturing Sector Strategic Goals
927ZHNB - Current Intelligence Bulletin: Carbon NanotubesStart Date: 10/1/2008
End Date: 10/30/2013
Principal Investigator (PI)Name: Faye Rice
Funded By: NIOSH
Primary Goal Addressed5.0
Secondary Goals Addressed6.0 , 9.0
Attributed to Manufacturing100%
The project purpose is to develop a NIOSH CIB to convey the potential health risks from exposure to single-walled and multiwalled carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers. Relevant health effects data will be presented along with interim risk management recommendations. The CIB and other NIOSH products such as web pages and presentations will communicate and disseminate the most current research results and recommendations on the health and safety issues involved in carbon nanotube and carbon nanofiber technology.
Current toxicologic research suggests that inhalation of engineered carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers may have the potential to cause cancer and fibrosis in occupational settings. To assess these risks and inform workers, NIOSH will develop a policy document (i.e., Current Intelligence Bulletin) to summarize the state of knowledge of the adverse health effects of engineered carbon nanotubes and carbon nanofibers. The NIOSH document will include health recommendations to protect workers based on a quantitative risk assessment using toxicologic dose-response data.
Nanotechnology is a rapidly expanding technology with great potential impact on the global economy. The technology involves creating or engineering materials in the nanometer size range. Particles and materials in this size range exhibit new and often unique properties with the potential to improve the performance of many existing products. Carbon nanotubes (CNT) and carbon nanofibers are carbon-based nanomaterials developed and produced in quantities ranging from research scale to commercial production and in some instances, carbon nanotubes are being introduced into existing processes and products. The market for CNTs is estimated to grow to over 8 billion dollars in the next decade. Results from recent in vitro and in vivo studies with singlewalled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes have demonstrated their ability to be cytotoxic when tested in various cell cultures and to cause an acute inflammatory response followed by an early onset of lung fibrosis when delivered to the lungs of mice by pharyngeal aspiration or inhalation. Exposures to single-walled and multi-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT and MWCNT) were more potent than either ultrafine carbon black or crystalline silica and of similar potency to chrysotile asbestos [Lam et al. 2004; Shvedova et al. 2005; Muller et al. 2005; Ryman-Rasmussen et al. 2009b]. There is also some evidence indicating that some types of well-dispersed MWCNT can move through the outer wall of the lung and into the intrapleural space in mice following exposure by pharyngeal aspiration and when administered intraperitoneally to mice, MWCNT cause asbestos-like pathogenicity.