Carbon nanotubes, which are are tubular cylinders of carbon atoms, have been found in children's lungs for the first time. While carbon nanotubes are used to increase the strength of products, such as tennis rackets and soccer cleats, their presence in our lungs is likely attributable to fossil fuels, as New Scientist reports in the article below. Scientists don't yet know the if carbon nanotubes are toxic, but they do have similar properties to asbestos molecules and they are foreign substances, after all. Most health professionals know that there aren't many good health outcomes associated with fossil fuels. The presence of nanotubes in children's lungs is concerning and adds yet another reason for health professionals to work toward making the switch to clean energy solutions.
October 21, 2015
Carbon nanotubes have turned up in the lungs of children living in Paris – the first time they have been detected in humans.
Incredibly strong, light and conductive, nanotubes have shown great potential in areas such as computing, clothing and healthcare technology. Nevertheless, there has been some concern over their use after mouse studies showed that injected nanotubes can cause immune reactions similar to those produced by asbestos.
To investigate, Fathi Moussa and colleagues at the University of Paris-Saclay, France, studied fluid from the airways of 64 asthmatic children, and discovered carbon nanotubes in all of the samples. Five other children studied also had them in their macrophages – immune cells that clear unwanted particles – taken from the lungs.
The level at which the nanotubes are present is unclear, as is their source, although the team found similar structures in dust and vehicle exhaust collected in Paris.
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