A Look At What Are Nanoparticles Biology Essay


To begin with what are nanoparticles. These are particles of any type classified as anthropogenic or manufacture origin, and natural occurring. also are less than 100 nanometers or just one billionth of a meter, are the main components of a growing applied science known as nanotechnology (Gibson K, and Pula D, 2009), (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). The small size of these particles makes them toxic, as a result of their greater surface area; their toxicity remains unknown, due to the nano-size range. Nanoparticles are incorporated in many products, use or have the potential to be used in textile, electronics, medical and other applications under discovery, for example nano silver used in antibacterial products from socks to wound dressings, and titanium dioxide for paint and sunscreens (Felwick,2009),(Lu,2009). The majority of the nanoparticles are released into the air (Tracy, 2010). The most common group of nanoparticles present in the environment is the combustion derived nanoparticles, from an anthropogenic source (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005), (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). Concerns are present regarding adverse effects of these particles on the environment and humans, there is a need for research in nanotoxicological effects of these particles. There are common hazards in the workplace these include the production facilities, the storage, handling, and disposal of the nanoparticles; and with their large surface are they might be recycled (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). These are a threat when they come in contact with living organisms, because affects their tissues, their exposure is too diverse ranging from the skin, to mouth. But the faster way to get exposed to these particles is through inhalation.

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Since early 4th century BC the detrimental health effects of inhaling fine particles were recognized (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005), (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007). These tiny compounds are deposit in the lungs and from there they transfer to other organs by means of translocation, which leads to the circulation of nanoparticles through the body. According to Piotrowska investigation team in 2009, the particles go in different fractions e.g. the inhalable fraction (which can enter the respiratory tract), the thoracic fraction (capable of penetration to the airways below the larynx, smaller than 10 nm) and the respirable fraction (particles smaller than 4 nm) penetrating beyond the ciliated airways to the gas exchange region of the lung. The summary is as follow: the regular particles affect upper respiratory tract, fine particles affect lower respiratory tract, and ultrafine particles or nanoparticles affect distal respiratory tract. The nanoparticles get stuck to the alveoli, increasing risk for pleura tissue inflammation.

After a short term exposure of nanoparticles there are other pulmonary effects, some including de development of fibrosis within the lungs (Oberdörster et al., 2005), (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), is commonly used in paints as a power, for workers that were exposed to this showed bioaccumulation in their lungs causing inflammation (Lu.2009). This causes a high risk of developing lung cancer, therefore raising concerns to exposed workers (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). The higher the surface area achieved by the Nanoparticles, the higher their toxicity and inflammatory properties (Tracy, 2010). Ultrafine particles are assessed in epidemiological air pollution studies and in occupational studies these airborne particles are from mostly combustion derived sources that end up affecting the respiratory system, with a strong relation that as the surface area increase so the oxidative stress; therefore increasing the inflammation (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). Furthermore, "Current and historical epidemiological and toxicological investigations with airborne nanoparticles are viewed as the pioneering nanoparticle for the expansion nanotoxicology, the major portal of entry into the human body for nanoparticles is via inhalation into the respiratory system" (BéruBé K, et al 2007).

Combustion Derived Nanoparticles or CDNP area dangerous when inhaled, because of the large surface area they are linked to health effects and respiratory toxicity. These thought to be the most potent component of the air pollution cocktail (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005). Their toxicology is used to predict the health outcomes in humans following exposure to manufactured nanoparticles, there is necessary to understand the toxicity to reduce occupational and environmental exposure (BéruBé K et al., 2007). These emissions are considered to be carbon based aerosols nanoparticles as a result of incomplete combustion, as well as lead compounds. As an example cars are equipped with catalysts. Some years ago platinum particles, with dimensions in the range 0.8-10 nm, are released from car catalysts during their life-time. Then newer catalysts were introduced by pioneering Mazda. Later is found that additions to fuel of Aluminum or Aluminum Trioxide nanoparticles, aids to the fuel properties (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). Since nanomaterials have novel properties, and a great potential in becoming biologically active, they can lead to environmental contamination (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007). The study of the impact of toxic nanoparticles in the environment is known as Nanotoxicology. Therefore toxicological research must be incorporated to study possible hazards.

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The future understanding of the toxicity of nanomaterials depend on technological innovations and scientific results stemming from enhanced research and discovery in nanotechnologies, and conventional knowledge about exposure assessment, fate and transport, and current computer models are not necessarily applicable to nanoparticles (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007), (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). Nanoparticle toxicity due to chemical toxicity of materials from which they have been made, their small size: nanoparticles may stick to cellular membranes and enter the cells, and their shape (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). According to Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. in 2007, acknowledge that by June 2005 the International Standard Organization launched a Nanotechnology Committee that focuses in the standardization of the nanotechnologies.

There is a high demand for the appropriated risk assessment, their staff, clients, and customers. Employees are acknowledged, regarding of the safety and hazards they are encountering while working with these particles; managers must retain the risk and safety guide and the policies to avoid legal procedures (Felwick,2009). The manufacturer is liable if the product is defective and causes injuries to the consumers; it is the users responsibility to provide all the proof that damage have been caused by the defective item (Felwick,2009). To proceed with this cross disciplinary communication is required, this in the collaboration of researchers from different disciplines. For example communication between physical chemists that have knowledge in classification of materials, biologist with knowledge of the ecosystems and biological systems, and toxicologist to merge both skills to study the toxicity of these nanomaterials (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007). Therefore nanotoxicologist benefit from the integration of both physical and biological sciences.

There are many scientific disciplines working together to study nanoparticles and their toxicology. Efforts have been internationally for a better assessment with two main groups International Council on Nanotechnology, and the International Organization for Standardization (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005). Risk assessment is necessary to manage the uncertainty of these particles, to set preventative procedures and future policies to help the employees managing the nanoparticles (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). The nanotoxicological effects of items containing nanoparticles, are far to be discover because there is a need for further studies of how to handle them.

According to Piotrowska G et al., 2009, there is a law imposed by Roy Amara the president of the Institute for the Future, "Nanoparticles benefits might be overestimated in the short run and their effects in the long run such as the accumulation of nanowaste might be underestimated." The short term effects are the benefits of the new technology, nanomaterials, and usages of nanoparticles, no nanowaste present. The long term effects are those that prove to be detrimental to the environment and increase the nanomaterials toxicity. A similar example derives from the beginning of the industrial revolution. As time passed using the delights of industrialization since the beginning of the twentieth century, now in 2010 the global environment feels the effects of the industrial waste. Now seeking improved ways for future recycle. From a nanotoxicological perspective the increase usage of nanotechnology will increase nanowaste finally will increase nanotoxicity. These materials will be around and living organisms exposure is ensure and likely to increase over time (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). There is still a small amount of data regarding the handeling of discarded nanomaterials.

Since there is a high demand for research, there is the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which launched an initiative to test human health and environmental safety of those nanomaterials that are already in use and the nanomaterials that may be developed in the forthcoming years. Consequently the greater amount of research the better risk assessment therefore is beneficial to study nanoparticles potential impacts on environmental health and safety (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005), (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). There is a need for further studies since "The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) nor The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has limited standards and regulations for nanoparticles" (Tracy,2010). Some of the limited regulations are how these substances are tried to be controlled. This rapid development of nanotechnology has led to greater regulation. For example in the United States there are the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health which focus in the research aspects of nanotechnology, and Environmental Protection Agency which focus in the environmental effects of the Nanoparticles . Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) involves a database covering all substances manufactured and process in the United States. A company must submit the information regarding the substance, if a substance is already in the inventory and is small will not be considered as new (Gibson K, and Pula D, 2009). With this, the goal is to get benefits and decrease the risk from Nanoparticles .

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There is potential risk on environmental, health, and safety; with these new technology applied in commercialized products. As an example, in the usage of a glass and bathroom sealant spray Magic Nano, led to hospitalization of an aerosol industry (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007). Risk assessment must have been taken in consideration precautionary measures from handlers of the nanoparticles. These hospitalizations could have been avoided with a knowledgeable occupational safety professional (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). There is a high demand for nanotechnological research; companies that handle nanoparticles should focus in the appropriate toxicology and ecotoxicology for all nanoenabled products. (Lu,2009) The ecotoxicological hazard is that the nanoparticles accumulate in the soil, air, and surface water.

Legal regulations are highly important issues; regarding nanowastes need to be regulated, following the life cycle of the remnants of the nanomaterials (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). This approach takes the stages of nanomaterials from production, through use, to disposal, which should avoid making the nanowaste problem a legacy of nanotechnology (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). This is an improvement after half a decade after the introduction of nanoparticles in manufacturing industries, known as the Life Cycle Assessment. Therefore, the companies working with nanotechnologies should keep up-to-date with information about the toxicological studies relevant to their area of R&D. (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007), (Piotrowska G et al., 2009), (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). Currently many international institutions are collecting results regarding nanomaterials. Since all this collection of results proves beneficial since these toxicological and ecotoxicological studies on nanomaterials effect to the environment and health are expensive and have a great deal of length. This initiative is known as ICON International Council of Nanotechnology. The University of California, has provided some surveys and research, to this international collection of nanomaterials research, this includes the Safety of Nano-Materials Interdisciplinary Research Centre, which conducts toxicological and epidemiological studies (Friedrichs S, and Schulte J. 2007). The collection of data and studies will further help to sort and create regulations for risk evaluations, this information should be influenced from previous research studies (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005), (Piotrowska G et al., 2009). The research on nanotechnology products is necessary to study adverse effects of the engineer nanomaterials to living organisms and the environment. Nanotoxicology is a challenge for research because of different exposure conditions, and biodistribution. This is the movements of materials through tissue, and organisms.

As of now, there should be more rules for standardized testing for the assessment of toxicity of the nanomaterials. According to National Toxicology program of 2005 and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of 2003, these have harmful side effects that affect different biological systems and they have a novel properties and risk of exposures is inevitable becoming a concern for humans and the environment (Oberdoerster G et al., 2005). A major recommendation is the recycling of nanowaste. This proves beneficial in the reduction of nanowaste independently of the time progressed using nanoparticles, nanowaste increase. This relationship according to the Amara law, use as regulation for further incorporation of the nanomaterials, before the waste becomes detrimental to the environment. The recycling needs segregation of nanoparticles used in the manufacturing of the product. So then are available for future use. At last, the emerging development of nanotechnology needs a better research and knowledge in how to bioutilise or recycle the nanowaste.


As discoveries in the field of nanotechnology go further, there are consequences that must be taken in consideration. According to the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nanotechnology is a field were matter is control in the 1 to 100 nanometers, this matter is known as nanoparticles (Gibson K, and Pula D, 2009). To prevent damage from airborne nanoparticles research must be conducted in determining the sources, so then the emissions could be reduced (Schulte P, and Salamaca F, 2007). Finally more studies must be exhorted to help understand hazards and possible recycling of these nanoparticles.