Nanoparticles in the environment: assessment using the causal diagram approach(11 page pdf, Suchi Smita, Shailendra K Gupta, Alena Bartonova, Maria Dusinska, Arno C Gutleb, Qamar Rahman, Environmental Health, Jun. 28, 2012)
Today we review research into the impacts of naturally occuring (NNPs)and man-made nanoparticles (ENPs)which range from impacts on high level noctiluent clouds (and from this climate warming) to impacts on vegetation and human health. Their very small size (less than 100 nm) poses a potentially greater threat than the particulate matter that has been studied in depth because of their greater reactivity potential and a number of diverse health impacts have been identified ranging from heart and lung diseases to impacts on vital organs, including the brain, via NPs in the bloodstream.
“The causal diagram … gives an overview of available scientific information starting with common sources of NPs and their interactions with various environmental processes that may pose threats to both human health and the environment”
“Major natural processes that release NPs in the atmosphere are forest fires, volcanic activities, weathering, formation from clay minerals, soil erosion by wind and water, or dust storms from desert”
“NNPs[naturally occurring NPs] and ENPs [man-made or engineered NPs ] exposure and their accumulation in biological matrices such as microbiota, plants and humans may result in various adverse effects.”
“The unfiltered exhaust gases from diesel engines contain large quantities of potentially harmful NPs from the incomplete combustion of fuel. In the fireplace at home, fullerenes like buckyballs or buckytubes are formed when wood is burned. In industrial processes, coal, oil, and gas boilers release tons of NPs unintentionally”
“Because of their small size (less than 100 nm) and the very high surface to volume ratio, NPs usually display an enormously elevated reactivity potential.”
“Inhaled NPs are likely to evade phagocytosis, penetrate lung tissue, reaching interstitial spaces and enter blood circulation …In the cardiovascular system platelet aggregation, and enhanced vascular thrombosis were observed …Via the blood stream NPs can finally reach sensitive target sites such as lymph nodes, spleen, heart, kidney, liver, pancreas, bone marrow and brain”