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Toxicological Concerns of Nanominerals: Old Problem with New Challenges

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Current knowledge on nanotoxicity of non-metallic natural minerals is scanty, except carbon on which several reviews already exist. The present review therefore focussed primarily on the toxicological concerns about natural minerals of global importance. Recent advances in nanotechnology have given rise to the rapid development of many novel applications in the biomedical field. Still, in depth studies into the health and safety of these nanomaterials are lacking. Current scenario data on nanotoxicology had mainly focuses on the toxic responses of engineered nanoparticles however very little is known about the toxic responses of non engineered particles especially mineral nanoparticles or nanominerals. Nanominerals are generally produced nonintentionally either by both abiotic and biotic processes or through weathering however they were produced intentionally at occupational levels. Nanominerals are widely distributed throughout the atmosphere, oceans, groundwater and surface waters, soils, in and/or on most living organisms. Occupational health risk associated with nanominerals exposure is currently not very well known to toxicologists. It is quite a serious scenario as nanominerals in the environment get interacted to humans by both natural routes or through occupational settings via inhalation, ingestion, and dermal pathways. At this time, there are no government regulations or workplace exposure limits that exist for exposure to nanoparticles. A full understanding of the toxicological profiles of nanominerals will make a major contribution to the risk assessment that is needed to ensure that products that utilize micro- and nanoparticles are made safely, are exploited to their full potential and then disposed of safely.


Document Type: Review Article


Publication date: 2011-06-01

More about this publication?
  • Bionanoscience attempts to harness various functions of biological macromolecules and integrate them with engineering for technological applications. It is based on a bottom-up approach and encompasses structural biology, biomacromolecular engineering, material science, and engineering, extending the horizon of material science. The journal aims at publication of (i) Letters (ii) Reviews (3) Concepts (4) Rapid communications (5) Research papers (6) Book reviews (7) Conference announcements in the interface between chemistry, physics, biology, material science, and technology. The use of biological macromolecules as sensors, biomaterials, information storage devices, biomolecular arrays, molecular machines is significantly increasing. The traditional disciplines of chemistry, physics, and biology are overlapping and coalescing with nanoscale science and technology. Currently research in this area is scattered in different journals and this journal seeks to bring them under a single umbrella to ensure highest quality peer-reviewed research for rapid dissemination in areas that are in the forefront of science and technology which is witnessing phenomenal and accelerated growth.
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