Nanoparticle exposure linked to heart problems

Asbestos fibres - a single fibre is believed t...
Asbestos fibres – a single fibre is believed to cause mesothelioma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Asbestos was hailed, even many centuries ago, as a material that could be used to create “miraculous” solutions to multiple problems – it was fireproof, it was flexible, it had tremendous insulating properties, it was easy to manipulate, etc. But it had a powerful, long-unacknowledged dark side. It gradually disabled and then killed people who ingested or inhaled the minute fibers.

Nanoparticles are even smaller than asbestos fibers. They’re used to make things stronger, to deliver drugs directly into tumors – on and on. Yet even as the world watches with wonder and awe the exciting developments in nanoparticle research, some have been tracking its dark side. Now a team of Israeli scientists has established that exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) of silicon dioxide (SiO2) can lead directly to developing cardiovascular diseases.

Silicon dioxide powder (silica fume), 130m²/g ...
Silicon dioxide powder (silica fume), 130m²/g surface area, placed on the scanner under a blue book, scanned in at 1600dpi. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The exposure must be such that the nanoparticles cross the body’s natural tissue and cellular barriers and find their way into the circulatory system. That is precisely the type of environmental exposure that happens consistently to people who work in research or production and thus use, handle or dispose of nanoparticles.

When the doctor sends a drug into your body that rides inside a nanoparticle, we just want him to make sure the cure isn’t bringing its own death threat.