Nanotech Cancer Risk Seen

Nanotubes, widely used 'wonder particles,' could have asbestos-like effect
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2008 4:28 PM CDT
Researchers work in a clean room at the expanded University of Michigan Lurie Nanofabrication Facility, Thursday, April 10, 2008, in Ann Arbor, Mich.   (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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(Newser) – Researchers have found that microscopic “wonder particles” used in a small number of materials, including bicycle parts and bumpers, have asbestos-like effects if inhaled, the Los Angeles Times reports. Consumers aren’t really at risk from the carbon nanotubes, but factory workers making the products could be, the researchers concluded.

“The good news is that we're understanding the potential hazards before we have large-scale use of these products and not four decades later,” said the head of an industry trade group. The researchers injected nanoparticles into mice, and found that the longest, most common nanotubes quickly inflamed cells, much as asbestos does. Smaller tubes had no effect, however.