Nanotechnology is an emerging field of science which is producing nano-sized materials. Some nanomaterials are having a significant impact in health care. Of these, carbon nanotubes (CNTs) represent one of the most promising materials in the field of nano-science and technology. Their potential in industrial applications has brought them much attention and the wide spectrum of usage has made it imperative that the impact of CNTs on human health and the environment is investigated thoroughly. In addition to their various beneficial applications, there is a potential for hazardous effects on human health. For example, the potential hazards through inhalation of CNTs have not been sufficiently evaluated. CNTs produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) which are associated with diminishing cellular activities, such as a decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential etc. This paper reviews the hazardous influence of CNTs on human health and the environment. Specifically, the effects of CNTs on lung toxicity, skin irritation and CNTs cyto-toxicity on various cell lines are reviewed. Biomedical applications and biocompatibility of carbon nanotubes are also summarized.
carbon nanotubes; nano-materials; nanotechnology; cytotoxicity; lung toxicity; skin irritation; biocompatibility
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