Carbon nanotubes could lead to asbestos related diseases

A major study published in Nature Nanotechnology suggests some forms of carbon nanotubes -- a poster child for the "nanotechnology revolution" -- could be as harmful as asbestos if inhaled in sufficient quantities. The study used established methods to see if specific types of nanotubes have the potential to cause mesothelioma -- a cancer of the lung lining that can take 30-40 years to appear following exposure. The results show that long, thin multi-walled carbon nanotubes that look like asbestos fibers, behave like asbestos fibers.

Discovered nearly 20 years ago, carbon nanotubes have been described as the wonder material of the 21st Century. Light as plastic and stronger that steel, they are being developed for use in new drugs, energy-efficient batteries and futuristic electronics. But since their discovery, questions have been raised about whether some of these nanoscale materials may cause harm and undermine a nascent market for all types of carbon nanotubes, including multi- and single-walled carbon nanotubes. Leading forecasting firms say sales of all nanotubes could reach $2 billion annually within the next four to seven years, according to an article in the U.S. publication Chemical & Engineering News. Full Link

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