Asbestos News: Nanotechnology
Nanotechnology is expected to improve our lives even more than computers.
However, scientists have noticed that some nanotubes have the same structure as the more lethal asbestos fibers. Testing of nanotube particles with animals has also shown the same types of lung inflammation as fatal mesothelioma caused by asbestos fibers.
Because of these studies, researchers have been seeking substances to clean up tiny nanoparticles.
And they found one.
No. I really mean it.
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh were able to break down nanoparticles by applying horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and a small amount of hydrogen peroxide for 12 weeks (Allen BL, Biodegradation of single-walled carbon nanotubes through enzymatic catalysis, Nano Letters, November 2008).
This technique could be safely applied for industrial or environmental accidents with nanoparticles.
Further testing is needed to learn if it can be applied in biological models including human inhalation.
Asbestos News: Toronto Propane Explosion: Increased Cancer Risk?
The explosion occurred August 10, around 4 AM, sending fireballs into the sky visible from 18 miles away (30 km). There was at least one death, one person missing, with surrounding homes destroyed, and over 10,000 people were evacuated from the area. Highways were shut down, one of Canada's largest shopping malls (Yorkdale) was evacuated, and a no-fly zone was established.
A long term concern is the clean-up of asbestos fireproofing used at the propane facility. Asbestos from the explosion has already been found on surrounding city streets and parks.
Asbestos fibers can remain airborne for weeks, and travel for miles. When the microscopic fibers are inhaled, they are a singular risk for lung diseases including asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.
Residents face not only damaged homes, but also stringent decontamination procedures which are difficult to implement. Initial clean-up costs are estimated to exceed $2 million.
Asbestos News: World Trade Center 9/11 Pulmonary Disease
Firefighters, rescue workers, and people near the World Trade Center after the September 11 attack and building collapses were exposed to wide-spread dust containing a multitude of substances including asbestos.
Hospitals and government agencies are monitoring local people for long-term health problems potentially caused by 9/11 dust.
A new review of New York City Fire Department rescue workers has found an increase in sarcoidosis or sarcoid-like granulomatous pulmonary disease (SLGPD).
During the 15 years prior to 9/11, sarcoidosis patients averaged 15/100,000. In the first year after the WTC collapses and dust explosion, the incidence rate rose to 86/100,000 with 13 new cases among NYFD rescue workers. During the next four years, there were an additional 13 cases with an incidence rate of 22/100,000 (Izbicki G, Chest, 2007).
This early onset of WTC-SLGPD was also associated with increased asthma and airway hyperactivity (AHR).
Health experts are expecting increasing incidence of many life-threatening diseases, especially lung-related conditions, for many years to come because of WTC dust.
Asbestos News: Some Asbestos Exposure Decreasing
Many products containing asbestos have been banned or regulated since the 1970's. But is the effort resulting in less exposure to asbestos for people?
Researchers tested 819 lung tissue samples acquired over the last 25 years from people with asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural plaques, and malignant asbestos lung mesothelioma. Dividing the samples chronologically, they compared the earliest half of the lung tissue samples with the latest half.
The presence of amosite asbestos was reduced in quantity for all diseases in the later groups. But a surprising finding was that the presence of crocidolite asbestos fibers had increased for all diseases in the later groups (Roggli VL, Human Pathology, 2008). The source of the increased asbestos exposure was not determined.
Exposure to asbestos can occur at work, in school, at home, and outdoors.
Learn more about your exposure to asbestos.
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