Full risk of nanoparticles remains unknown: report

August 12, 2010

Information about the hazards of engineered nanoparticles is still fragmentary even though the number and variety of products manufactured using the technology continue to increase, according to a report (.pdf file) from the Occupational Health and Safety Research Institute in Quebec.

Research shows a chemical substance's nanoparticles are generally more toxic than the same substance of larger dimensions. However, the report, which summarized current data on risks associated with the technology, concluded that the risks cannot be quantified because the toxicity of products, levels of dust contamination and potential for fires have not been adequately documented.

Researchers said most methods used to limit exposure to ultrafine particles should be effective against nanoparticles, but more research is needed.