Influence of Nanotechnology on Health

"With the boom in nanomaterials production there is an increasing possibility of environmental and human exposure. Thus there is a need to investigate their potential detrimental effects," says Cramb. "We have developed very specialized tools to begin measuring such impacts." With this, he might have come a step closer to helping solve a complex problem in nanotechnology: the impact nanoparticles have on human health and the environment.

Nanoparticles are particles or groups of atoms or molecules nanometres in size. One millimetre (or the diameter of the head of a pin) is equal to one-million nanometres. Nanoparticles are already used in the cosmetics industry and are being developed for drug delivery, diagnostic imaging and tissue engineering, to name only a few applications.

"Bioaccumulation studies involving embryos are being conducted in our laboratory," says Cramb. "These studies are important since chronic nanotoxicity in an adult organism could be related to exposure during the development process. Additionally, acute exposure may affect embryonic viability."

Cramb and his researchers studied motion and light induced changes in nanoparticles by focusing a laser beam into a blood vessel containing nanoparticles and measuring fluorescence. The measurements provide a determination of particles aggregation in the vessel. The results will now allow measurement and understanding of uptake into embryonic tissues.; Source: University of Calgary