we solicitors llp
A fresh approach to Legal Advice
Call 0870 165 9413

Call Back request


Subscribe to our RSS feed

Click here for expert legal advice

We will call you click here

Homepage » News

Expert Legal Advice, click here

Latest News

The New Asbestos?

A new study in the European Respiratory Journal has for the first time claimed a concrete link between exposure to nanoparticles in adhesive paint and the development of sever pulmonary fibrosis.

The report was based on 7 Chinese workers who started to complain of various respiratory and breathing problems resulting in two of the workers dying. The workers at the time were spraying paint onto polystyrene slabs. Lung biopsys on three of the women showed that the nanoparticles used in the paint where present in the lungs.

This evidence is the first concrete link that nanopartciles are in fact harmful to humans despite knowing for several years that the particles where harmful to animals. It has been demonstrated that nanoparticles can suppress the immune system of mice which again raises doubts for anyone working with these substances.

What are nanoparticles? The needle-like fibre shape of CNTs, similar to asbestos fibers, raises fears that widespread use of carbon nanotubes may lead to mesothelioma , cancer of the lining of the lungs often caused by exposure to asbestos. A recently-published pilot study[30] supports this prediction. Scientists exposed the mesothelial lining of the body cavity of mice, as a surrogate for the mesothelial lining of the chest cavity, to long multi-walled carbon nanotubes and observed asbestos-like, length-dependent, pathogenic behaviour which included inflammation and formation of lesions known as granulomas. Authors of the study conclude:

"This is of considerable importance, because research and business communities continue to invest heavily in carbon nanotubes for a wide range of products under the assumption that they are no more hazardous than graphite. Our results suggest the need for further research and great caution before introducing such products into the market if long-term harm is to be avoided."[

According to co-author Dr. Andrew Maynard:

"This study is exactly the kind of strategic, highly focused research needed to ensure the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology. It looks at a specific nanoscale material expected to have widespread commercial applications and asks specific questions about a specific health hazard. Even though scientists have been raising concerns about the safety of long, thin carbon nanotubes for over a decade, none of the research needs in the current U.S. federal nanotechnology environment, health and safety risk research strategy address this question."

The Health & Safety Executive have already published a number of Information Sheets for Employers setting out the potential harmful affects of this as yet untested industry

Why does it matter? These particles are similar in size and shape to asbestos. The world is still living with the largest industrial catastrophe namely peoples exposure to asbestos be it at work or in the environment. These particles are used in everything from tennis rackets and car parts to clothing.

Interestingly insurers have already identified this as a potential battleground in years to come similar to that of the asbestos litigation which continues to rumble on around the world.

« Back to news