Exposure to Nanoparticles and Hormesis

Iavicoli, Ivo; Calabrese, Edward J.; Nascarella, Marc A.
October 2010
Dose-Response;2010, Vol. 8 Issue 4, p501
Academic Journal
Nanoparticles are particles with lengths that range from 1 to 100 nm. They are increasingly being manufactured and used for commercial purpose because of their novel and unique physicochemical properties. Although nanotechnology-based products are generally thought to be at a pre-competitive stage, an increasing number of products and materials are becoming commercially available. Human exposure to nanoparticles is therefore inevitable as they become more widely used and, as a result, nanotoxicology research is now gaining attention. However, there are many uncertainties as to whether the unique properties of nanoparticles also pose occupational health risks. These uncertainties arise because of gaps in knowledge about the factors that are essential for predicting health risks such as routes of exposure, distribution, accumulation, excretion and dose-response relationship of the nanoparticles. In particular, uncertainty remains with regard to the nature of the dose-response curve at low level exposures below the toxic threshold. In fact, in the literature, some studies that investigated the biological effects of nanoparticles, observed a hormetic dose-response. However, currently available data regarding this topic are extremely limited and fragmentary. It therefore seems clear that future studies need to focus on this issue by studying the potential adverse health effects caused by low-level exposures to nanoparticles.


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