Environmental Engineering Reference
In-Depth Information
Reducing the Toxicity of Carbon
Nanotubes and Fullerenes Using
Surface Modifi cation Strategy
Jyoti Chawla and Arun Kumar
Carbon-based nanoparticles have attracted much attention because of their unique
properties like specifi c strength, lightness, electrical properties and also show
several promising potential applications in biology and pharmacology. However,
their growing use and mass production have raised several questions about
their probable unfavourable effects on human health. For example, use of carbon
nanotubes (CNTs) and fullerenes are there in maximum number of consumer
products containing carbon-based nanomaterials and have been reportedly found in
environmental samples (Farré et al. 2010 ).
A literature review showed that carbon nanotubes can produce effects very similar
to those of asbestos fi bres. The results of rodent studies showed that CNTs produce
infl ammation, epithelioid granulomas, fi brosis and biochemical/toxicological
changes in the lung (Lam et al. 2006 ). Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs)
were found to be more toxic than quartz and carbon black. Pharmacokinetic studies
with radio-labeled watersoluble C60 showed that after intravenous injection into
mice the compound quickly migrates through the body, accumulates in the liver
after a few hours, and is excreted, either slowly or rapidly depending on the func-
tionalization of the C60 surface. CNTs were also identifi ed in four of the seven
WTC dust samples. Wu et al. ( 2010 ) investigated seven previously healthy individuals
who were exposed to World Trade Centre dust and later developed severe respiratory
impairment. SWCNTs of various lengths were identifi ed in lung tissues of three
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