ISSN 1214-0287 (on-line)
ISSN 1214-021X (printed)

Volume 7 (2009), No 1, p 1-13

Carbon nanotubes: toxicological impact on human health and environment

Gracial Tejral, Nagender Reddy Panyala, Josef Havel

Address: Josef Havel, Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlarska 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic

Received 25th December 2008.
Revised 23rd January 2009.
Published online 10th March 2009.

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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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