Like Asbestos, Do Carbon Nanotubes Have Potential Health Risks?

A new study looks at the latest research on carbon nanotube toxicity and finds that they have a significant inflammatory potential in the respiratory system. Carbon nanotubes are the most promising form of nanomaterial utilized in nanotechnology for applications such as medicine, sporting goods, automobile parts, and water filters, among other things. Asbestos and carbon nanotubes have comparable physico-chemical properties, which has prompted worries about their hazard. Carbon nanotubes, unlike asbestos, have a heterogeneous chemical and physical structure, making it difficult to draw conclusions regarding their carcinogenic potential.

A recent study looked at the findings of current research on a homogenous group of carbon nanotubes, with an emphasis on the effects on the pleural membranes, which are the primary target of asbestos carcinogenicity. Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., President of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) and Professor in the Department of Medical Biotechnology at the University of Siena, Italy, led the study, which was co-authored by Marcella Barbarino, Ph.D., a staff member of the University of Siena's Department of Medical Biotechnologies and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research and Molecular Medicine.

“Asbestos is arguably the most well-known man-made disaster that might have been avoided, and we cannot risk another industrial calamity like asbestos, where it took a century for its carcinogenicity to be recognized,” Prof. Antonio Giordano adds. “We think that future research on CNT toxicity should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and that a fresh assessment of the hazard of CNTs to human health is urgently required based on this premise.”

The study, which was published in the prominent scientific journal Cancers, finds that the evidence confirming CNTs' high inflammatory potential, as well as the data connecting CNT exposure with molecular changes known to play a crucial role in mesothelioma development, must be carefully considered.

“Cancer is a multi-step process that might take years to show itself, especially in the case of mesothelioma. Fortunately, we are at the start of the CNT era, and we have the chance to create safe management of these materials,” Barbarino explains.

Dr. Antonio Giordano is the President and Founder of the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), which conducts research to diagnose, treat and cure cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.