Mesothelioma: Do asbestos and carbon nanotubes pose the same health risk?

Particle and fibre toxicology

PubMedID: 19523217

Jaurand MC, Renier A, Daubriac J. Mesothelioma: Do asbestos and carbon nanotubes pose the same health risk?. Part Fibre Toxicol. 2009;616.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs), the product of new technology, may be used in a wide range of applications. Because they present similarities to asbestos fibres in terms of their shape and size, it is legitimate to raise the question of their safety for human health. Recent animal and cellular studies suggest that CNTs elicit tissue and cell responses similar to those observed with asbestos fibres, which increases concern about the adverse biological effects of CNTs. While asbestos fibres' mechanisms of action are not fully understood, sufficient results are available to develop hypotheses about the significant factors underlying their damaging effects. This review will summarize the current state of knowledge about the biological effects of CNTs and will discuss to what extent they present similarities to those of asbestos fibres. Finally, the characteristics of asbestos known to be associated with toxicity will be analyzed to address the possible impact of CNTs.