A physicist and a medical researcher at the University of Leicester have received a grant of £100,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to look at possible toxic damage from inhaled nanoparticles used for a range of everyday purposes.
The small size of nanoparticles in the size range 5-100 nm gives many novel and useful properties and they are used in applications as diverse as face creams, plastics, medical imaging, novel drug therapies and magnetic recording. Such particles are increasingly manufactured and released into the environment on industrial scales.
However, there is growing concern that the very same properties that make them so useful may also lead to enhanced toxicity if the particles are breathed in. The particles are so small - 100,000 particles laid end-to-end would only stretch a few millimetres - that it is not clear how the bodys normal defence mechanisms will cope with them.
Alex Jelley | alfa
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