Mesothelioma has long been linked to the inhalation and exposure to asbestos fibers and dust, so when scientists uncovered an additional potential cause for this incurable form of lung cancer, the unthinkable became a reality.
According to researchers based out of the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington D.C., the early 90’s development of carbon nanotubes has been an amazing feat for technological applications, however, it has not gone without its price. Specifically, carbon nanotubes may be causing harm to the human body in the form of mesothelioma cancer.
If the carbon nanotubes are introduced into the wrong environment, the development of lesions and inflammation of the lungs occurs – symptoms similar to that of mesothelioma cancer and asbestos exposure. Researchers uncovered the finding through exposure of carbon nanotubes to animals.
Dr. Andrew Maynard, who published a study in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, described the use of nanotubes and the potential link to mesothelioma cancer. He said that currently, nanotubes are being implemented because of their awesome abilities at conducting heat and electricity. Mostly, Dr. Maynard explains, the nanotubes are being implemented into sports equipment. He said that there are no regulations as to where nanotubes can be implemented and there are currently no requirements for the use of nanotubes to be disclosed to the general public.
What Are Nanotubes?
According to Maynard, nanotubes are a product of nanotechnology research, one he considers the “poster child” of nanotechnology. The nanotubes are cylindrical structures comprised of carbon atoms that have been rolled together. Maynard’s study found that when mice were exposed to nanotubes, they developed asbestos-induced symptoms within the lungs. While he and other researchers consider nanotubes to be safe – when encased – the risk occurs when nanotubes are incinerated or broken.
Nanotubes are currently being used in:
* a variety of sports equipment
* bicycle frames
* tennis rackets
* electronic gas detectors
Additionally, because of the strength of nanotubes, many consider its future use to vastly effect several business ventures and areas, and be widely used in industries including:
* television box productions
* environmental uses
Working with Nanotubes
While the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is doing research on nanotoxicology, there is little knowledge or research currently available regarding the safety of using nanotechnology. Additionally, Dr. Maynard noted that because of the ever-increasing nanotechnology industry, which is likely to be worth $ 2.6 trillion by 2014, it will be difficult to adequately and accurately assess nanotechnology safety because of the technology’s quick growth, which is also being used in the food industry.
Transparency of nanotoxicology among some nanotechnologically-produced products may fall into the hands of manufacturers and producers, which John M. Balbus, health program chief for the Environmental Defense Fund who was interviewed in a Washington Post article on nanotechnology, said could either be a very good thing with open communications, or a very bad thing replicating the mistakes made among the construction industry’s use of asbestos. However, he noted that upfront communication regarding the dangers of nanotechnology with the public may increase because of the previous mistakes made by other industries in hiding mesothelioma conditions from the public.
Finding Help with Nanotube Related Mesothelioma
Individuals, especially nanotube factory workers who have previously worked with carbon nanotubes or have been exposed to the potential dangers associated with the nanotubes and developing mesothelioma should receive medical attention immediately.
It may also become necessary for these individuals to locate a law firm with knowledge of mesothelioma-related litigation in order to develop a mesothelioma lawsuit.
Because of the nature of the industry and the continued funding flooding into carbon nanotube research it is important to develop a lawsuit that will also alert others, in a similar predicament, and provide aware of the potentially serious health risks associated with nanotechnology. Further, because only 5 percent of the funding, which consists of billions of dollars annually, provided by the National Nanotechnology Institute is going toward health and safety research, it is important for individuals with nanotube-induced mesothelioma to develop a lawsuit that may offer monetary compensation to victims suffering from this irreversible and deadly lung cancer.