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Study links carbon nanotubes to mesothelioma

June 15, 2011

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Edinburgh, Scotland – Certain types of carbon nanotubes may cause cancer in the lining of the lungs, indicates research from the University of Edinburgh.

Carbon nanotubes are tiny fibers used to strengthen objects. According to a study abstract, researchers studied mice and found that although short carbon nanotubes were relatively harmless, longer nanotubes were more likely to become lodged in the lung lining and cause mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with asbestos.

Likewise, the longer carbon nanotubes caused lung inflammation similar to that caused by asbestos.

Researchers said the study shows the need to develop safe nanofibers that are long enough to be useful but short enough not to cause harm to workers.

The study appeared in the June issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

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