Danish experts have warned that some types of nano products could cause cancer in a similar way to asbestos exposure.
Modern technology has seen a growth in the use of nano particles across a wide scope of industries, with applications ranging from building and cleaning materials to super fast computers.
“Scientifically, one can draw a parallel between the spread of nano products and the asbestos scandal. A study of the type of nano particles called carbon nanotubes showed that laboratory animals got pulmonary membrane cancer under certain conditions,” said Otto Melchior Oulsen, National Labour Environment (NFA) Research Director. He added that many asbestos handlers also contracted lung cancer in later life.
On April 16, the Danish Environmental Protection Agency outlawed the use of nano-enhanced dirt resistant floor sprays after a study found links to serious lung problems. The testing and recommendation were undertaken by the Environmental Protection Agency, reports Politiken.
“We subjected mice to a spray from the product and could see that it made them very sick. During the first 24 hours, they lost 10 percent of their body weight and many of them died,” said NFA Senior Researcher Soren Thor Larsen, adding that serious lung problems were discovered upon dissection.
Larsen claimed that many other nano products have yet to be fully tested, but that similar results to those seen in the floor spray studies are feared. Accepted research maintains that nano particles are generally safe as long as they are encapsulated in a product, but airborne particles may still pose an undefined threat.
“It is reasonable to assume that there are problems with products such as the one we have tested. My advice is that workmen, for example, or consumers, should be careful with products like the floor spray in which nano particles get into the air as small droplets or dust. In these cases one can use masks, for example, or ensure strong ventilation,” said Larsen.