Fibres Put Workers' Health At Risk

Asbestos Related Diseases


Tiny fibres which are widely used by research and business communities in the manufacture of lightweight and strong materials may pose a similar health risk to asbestos, a new report has warned.

Nanotubes have been used to make lightweight sports equipment, tear-resistant clothing and stronger concrete but tests on mice suggest that their widespread use could lead to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining of the lungs, if the fibres are inhaled.

Scientists from Edinburgh, Manchester and the US carried out the tests which introduced the fibres in the abdominal cavities of mice and found that exposure led to inflammation and lesions.

"This is of considerable importance, because research and business communities continue to invest heavily in carbon nanotubes for a wide range of products under the assumption that they are no more hazardous than graphite," the researchers said.

"Our results suggest the need for further research and great caution before introducing such products into the market if long-term harm is to be avoided," they added.

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