In the last several years, significant attention has been paid to the potential toxicity of tiny, but nonetheless interesting, carbon nanotubes (CNTs). These are graphite sheets rolled to form either a seamless cylinder, called single-walled CNTs (SWCNTs), or many cylinders stacked one inside the other, known as multiwalled CNTs (MWCNTs). Their lengths can range from several hundred nanometers to several micrometers, but their diameters can only be less than 100 nm. The organized structure of CNTs along with their high-aspect ratio, large surface area, ultra-light weight, metallic or semi-metallic behavior, high mechanical strength and high electrical conductivity make them extremely attractive for diverse manufacturing purposes. In the biomedical field, for example, CNTs provide novel opportunities for imaging and therapy with high performance and efficacy. However, the unique characteristics of CNTs also raise alarms about their possibly damaging health effects, as both the small size and large surface area of inhaled particles are important determinants of potential pulmonary toxicity.
Airborne-particles; Analytical-processes; Biochemistry; Biohazards; Biological-effects; Biological-systems; Biological-transport; Biomedical-engineering; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Health-hazards; Health-sciences; Inhalation-studies; Microbiology; Microscopic-analysis; Particulate-dust; Particulates; Physiological-factors; Physiological-measurements; Physiological-response; Pulmonary-system; Pulmonary-system-disorders; Respiratory-hypersensitivity; Risk-factors; Surface-properties; Toxic-effects; Toxic-materials; Nanotechnology
Petia P Simeonova, Toxicology & Molecular Biology Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Morgantown, WV 26505