Nanoparticles and our Health

While we have to worry over pesticides, toxins, and GMOs in our food supply, now we also have the burden of Nanoparticles. And of course, they’re untested and the FDA is permitting their advance into foods without concern for labeling or precaution.  We can also find nanoparticles in suncreens and heaps of consumer products.


More Harmful than Thought          

Nanoparticles are more harmful to small animals than tests have indicated to date. This has been shown in a new study of the University of Koblenz-Landau. Thus, the offspring of water fleas (Daphnia magna) exposed to nanoparticles of titanium dioxide react significantly more sensitively than the offspring of parents from a control group. This is the case even though the offspring themselves are not exposed to the nanoparticles. With the usual test methods, no effects attributable to nanoparticles were found. Until now, standard tests do not investigate the effects in the next generation.

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How can inhaled nanoparticles affect health?

Particulate matter present in air pollution, especially from traffic emissions, is known to affect human health, although it is not clear exactly how. Epidemiological studies on ambient air pollution have not proved conclusively that nanoparticles are more harmful than larger particles, but these studies may not be well suited to demonstrate such differences.

Inhaled particulate matter can be deposited throughout the human respiratory tract, and an important fraction of inhaled nanoparticles deposit in the lungs. Nanoparticles can potentially move from the lungs to other organs such as the brain, the liver, the spleen and possibly the foetus in pregnant women. Data on these pathways is extremely limited but the actual number of particles that move from one organ to another can be considerable, depending onexposure time. Even within the nanoscale, size is important and small nanoparticles have been shown to be more able to reach secondary organs than larger ones.

Another potential route of inhaled nanoparticles within the body is the olfactory nerve; nanoparticles may cross themucous membrane inside the nose and then reach the brain through the olfactory nerve. Out of three human studies, only one showed a passage of inhaled nanoparticles into the bloodstream.

Materials which by themselves are not very harmful could be toxic if they are inhaled in the form of nanoparticles.

The effects of inhaled nanoparticles in the body may include lung inflammation and heart problems. Studies in humans show that breathing in diesel soot causes a general inflammatory response and alters the system that regulates the involuntary functions in the cardiovascular system, such as control of heart rate.

The pulmonary injury and inflammation resulting from the inhalation of nanosize urban particulate matter appears to be due to the oxidative stress that these particles cause in the cells. More…

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