Nanomaterials describe, in principle, materials of which a single unit is sized between 1 to 1000 nanometres but usually is 1 to 100 nm.

Graphene Nanoplatelets (GNP)

Graphene Nanoplatelets (GNP) consist of small stacks of graphene that can replace carbon fiber, carbon nanotubes, nano-clays, or other compounds in many composite applications. When they are added at 2-5wt% to plastics or resins they make these materials electrically or thermally conductive and less permeable to gasses, while simultaneously improving mechanical properties like strength, stiffness, or surface toughness. The GNPs that all have the same image are the plasma exfoliated products.

GNPs consist of several sheets of graphene with an overall thickness of approximately 3-10 nanometers depending on the specific product. Graphene Nanoplatelets are friable to 4 layers thick.

Nano Cobalt Powder(Nano Co)

1. High-density magnetic recording material: It has the advantages of high recording density, high coercive force, high signal-to-noise ratio and good oxidation resistance, which can greatly improve the performance of magnetic tape and large-capacity hard and soft disks;
2. Magnetic fluid: Being used for sealing shock absorption, sound adjustment, optical display, etc.;
3. Wave-absorbing materials: High-performance millimeter wave stealth materials for military use, visible light-infrared stealth materials, structural stealth materials and mobile phone radiation shielding materials;
4. Powder metallurgy: Being used as adhesive for cemented carbide, diamond tools, high temperature alloy, magnetic materials and other metallurgical products;
5. Chemical products: Rechargeable battery, industrial blasting agent, rocket fuel, medicine, colored glass, catalyst and desiccant, etc.

Nano Silicon Powder(Nano Si)

1. New generation photoelectric semiconductor material, high power light source material;
2. Semiconductor microelectronics encapsulating materials;
3. Lithium battery anode material: replace nano carbon powder or graphite, increasing the lithium battery capacity and charge and discharge cycle times by more than three times;
4. High temperature resistant coating and refractory materials;
5. Nano silicon can be used in coatings to form into silicon nano film, which is widely used in solar energy;
6. Nano silicon powder can be mixed with diamond under high pressure to form silicon carbide – diamond composite material for being used as cutting tools;
7. React with organic materials, as the original family of organosilicon polymer material.

Nano Aluminum Powder(Nano Al)

1. High efficiency combustion improver agent: Greatly improve the rocket solid fuel combustion efficiency and combustion speed, reduce the pressure index, improve the combustion stability.Significantly increase the blasting force of explosives;
2. Activated sintering additive: Put the 5-10% nano aluminum powder into the AlN to significantly reduce the sintering temperature and improve the density and thermal conductivity of the sintered body;
3. Metal and non-metal surface conductive coating treatment: Due to the high surface activity of nano aluminum, the coating layer can be made at a temperature lower than the melting point of powder in the absence of oxygen, this technology can be applied to the production of microelectronic devices;
4. Producing the conductive film layer and polishing paste, etc.;
5. For high-grade metal pigment, composite materials, aerospace, chemical industry, metallurgy (Al-thermit method and deoxidizer), ship-building (conductive coating), refractory material (magnesium carbon bricks), new building materials and anti-corrosive materials, etc.

Nano Iron Powder(Nano Fe)

1. Wave-absorbing materials: High-performance millimeter wave stealth materials, visible light-infrared stealth materials, structural stealth materials and mobile phone radiation shielding materials;
2. Magnetic paste: It has the characteristics of high saturation magnetization and high permeability, which can be used for fine magnetic head bonding structure;
3. High performance magnetic recording materials: High coercive force, higher specific saturation magnetization, high signal-to-noise ratio and good oxidation resistance, which can greatly improve the performance of magnetic tape and large capacity hard and soft disks;
4. Magnetic fluid: being used for sealing shock absorption, medical devices, sound adjustment, optical display and other fields;
5. Medicine science: Manufacturing targeted drugs for carrying out high concentration of drug therapy on pathological sites with little overall side effect on human body. Suitable for cancer, tuberculosis and other diseases with fixed nidus;
6. Powder metallurgy, mechanical parts manufacturing, anti-wear materials, lubricants and it’s related products development.

Cellulose

Nanocellulose refers to cellulose in the nanometre scale and is a material derived from natural materials including plants and bacteria. But it can also be produced from sugars through biotechnological processes using bacteria that give the product its’ final name – bacterial nanocellulose. Production processes in the 1980’s were energy-intensive, but substantial progress has been made in recent times to reduce these energy costs associated with nanocellulose production. Today, various commercial applications for nanocellulose exist. For example, treatment of wood and hardboard is done with nanocellulose and it functions as barrier material in food packaging materials. Hygiene products for medical applications contain nanocellulose due to its capacity to store large amounts of water. In dietary supplements nanocellulose is used as a thickening agent and stabiliser.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

Nanocellulose can directly come into contact with the human skin (dermal uptake) because of its use in medical implants or in wound care applications. Nanocellulose or cellulose nanoparticles can also be swallowed (oral uptake) when used in dietary supplements.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Nanocellulose is considered to be non-toxic and causes no rejection reactions in the body. There are no existing safety concerns for nanocellulose as dietary supplements, although it has been found that the intestinal wall is permeable to this material. Research has shown that only very high concentrations of nanocellulose are able to affect cell growth.

 

Conclusion

Humans regularly get in contact with nanocellulose through various sources like hygiene products. But there are no known health and safety concerns resulting from the use of nanocellulose containing products.

 

By the way…

  • Ordinary cellulose is permitted without a limit on food (E460).

Cerium Dioxide

Cerium dioxide (CeO2) has a variety of applications. For example ceria nanoparticles are used in catalytic converters in the automotive industry to convert harmful carbon monoxide to less harmful carbon dioxide. The semi-conductor industry uses cerium dioxide nanoparticles as fine abrasive and polishing agent in the manufacturing of computer chips. Non-nanoscaled cerium dioxide can improve the light production/output in mantles of gas lanterns as the gas flame produces almost no light itself, whereas burning cerium oxide generates a yellowish-white colour.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

Ceria nanoparticles may be present in the ambient air as the material is used as a catalyst/additive in some automotive fuels. However, there is no information available on this material with regards to the environment or on other sources that may release cerium dioxide nanoparticles. The chance of human exposure to ceria nanoparticles derived from applications such as gas lanterns or computer chips is very low since mantles in gas lanterns are rarely produced nowadays and they do not make use of cerium dioxide nanoparticles at all. Equally the production of computer chips during which ceria is uses as polishing agent takes place in highly isolated rooms.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Little information exists on the effects of cerium dioxide nanoparticles on humans or the environment. Literature sources show that there could be positive and negative effects. There is no danger associated with small amounts of cerium dioxide. Currently it is also assumed that very little nano-scaled cerium dioxide exists in the environment.

 

Conclusion

Future studies need to be performed to conclusively determine the effects of cerium dioxide nanoparticles on humans and on the environment. Currently various international research projects are focused on investigating the effects, including the long-term effects, of cerium dioxide nanoparticles.

 

By the way…

  • Cerium, as cerium oxide, is a rare metal and was named after the dwarf planet Ceres that is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is not clear if either cerium or cerium dioxide is present on Ceres. The NASA probe Dawn, who arrived at Ceres in February 2015, could not clarify this: cerium was simply not on the agenda for this research program.

 

Iron and iron oxides

Iron is the highest occurring metal found in the earth crust. Iron ore is the starting material to produce iron oxides which are used in various applications ranging from the production of steel to data storage devices. Currently applications of iron oxide nanoparticles in medical uses, such as contrast agents or tumour therapeutic agents, are being tested.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

There is little chance for the user to come into contact with iron and iron oxide nanoparticles used in electronic devices and in data storage media. In the medical field, however, iron oxide nanoparticles are injected directly into the human body. Therefore it is extremely important to ensure that the used concentrations of the iron oxide preparations are non-toxic.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

The administered amounts of iron and iron oxide used in medical applications are very small compared to the natural iron supplies within the body and are considered non-toxic. Naturally occurring iron oxides are ubiquitously found in the environment making it difficult to distinguish between the naturally occurring forms and synthetically produced iron oxide nanoparticles. Environmental engineers are using this material for environmental remediation purposes such as the removal of toxic compounds from ground water where the nanoparticles usually remain after the chemicals have been eliminated. In general iron and iron oxide nanoparticles are considered to be non-toxic to the environment and its inhabitants, only exceptionally high concentrations can be problematic. Nevertheless it is essential to differentiate between the effects of metallic iron and the respective iron oxides as the former cannot be taken up by organisms. Iron oxides however are important trace elements which can cause adverse effects in both humans and wildlife when administered in excessive amounts.

 

Conclusion

In the day-to-day life the human body is only exposed to very small amounts of iron nanoparticles or iron oxide nanoparticles which are considered generally to be non-toxic. Iron and iron oxide are naturally occurring materials in the environment.

 

By the way…

  • Iron oxide is also used as colour pigment to create the typical rust red colour. It is a long-lasting dye that can been found in many ancient paintings.
  • Pigeons and bacteria are known to store iron oxide particles within their bodies to enable orientation with regard to the earth’s magnetic field.

 

Fullerenes

Fullerenes, also called bucky balls, are a very new modification of pure carbon and their form resembles soccer balls. They consist out of 20 hexagons and 12 pentagons with a carbon atom in each of edges of this lattice structure. There are only very few applications of this new material class.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

Up to now fullerenes are only used in two prominent types of applications which however are not found in Europe. Fullerene nanoparticles are introduced into plastics and other composite materials to improve the products’ properties and a Japanese company is currently producing fullerene-containing cosmetics. Fullerene nanoparticles have excellent radical scavenging properties which is why they were added to an expensive line of anti-ageing cosmetic products resulting in a direct contact of the nanomaterial with the skin. Further possible applications have not yet been put into practice.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

So far, there are only a few reliable studies on their health effects on humans or animals. Several studies investigated the distribution of fullerenes in the body and clearly demonstrated that these very small particles (only 0.7 nm in diameter) can penetrate tissue barriers. This fact is only true for individually occurring fullerene nanoparticles which normally exist in an agglomerated state thus reducing the penetration potential of tissue barriers significantly.

 

Conclusion

Fullerenes are not produced in high quantities and the actual amounts used in everyday products are so small that any possible negative effects can be ruled out. The situation might change however if new products are put on the market that contain considerable amounts of fullerene nanoparticles.

 

By the way…

  • Actually fullerenes are too small to fulfil the definition requirements of nanomaterials (size between 1-100 nm) which is why ISO and OECD created an exception for this class of materials within the definition.

Graphene

Graphene is a one-atom thick layer of carbon and is considered to be a new wonder molecule. Its production became possible only very recently and graphene is now available for various applications. The term graphene is often applied to many members of the family of graphene-based materials the two most important members being graphene and graphene oxide (GO). Graphene is transparent, flexible and very stable on a molecular level. Various future uses of graphene and graphene oxide are expected, from applications in the fields of electronics, photonics, composite materials, energy generation and storage, sensors, metrology to uses in biomedicine.

 

How can I come in contact with this material?

Currently, graphene is still an experimental material, which was first discovered in 2004. Therefore, there are only few products or applications on the market (e.g. a tennis racket). The most likely path currently for someone to get into contact is via inhalation (breathing in) of graphene nanoparticles or graphene oxide nanoparticles in a laboratory environment.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

So far it is too early to conclude on positive or negative biological effects on humans, but first experiments with animals showed that lung damage can occur after inhalation of graphene nanoparticles. Concern has been raised by lung specialists about the safety of graphene and graphene oxide. They strongly recommend that appropriate inhalation (lung uptake) experiments of graphene must be undertaken in order to better understand the respiratory safety profile of this group of materials.

 

Conclusion

At present graphene and graphene oxide are still experimental materials and mainly important for research. The incidence of potential exposure to these materials is very small at this point in time, but it will be important to follow what the future for this material holds in terms of its human and environmental safety profile.

Indium Tin Oxides

Indium tin oxide (ITO) or tin-doped indium oxide is a mixture of indium oxide and tin oxide in which the tin component can contribute up to one-fifth of the material composition. Indium tin oxide is a transparent (see-through) material with electrical conductivity. Indium tin oxide is applied mainly as a film to create transparent conductive coatings in the opto-electronic industry, for example to protect image sensors of digital cameras, or displays based on LED technology (LED = light emitting diode). It is used in heated defrosting coatings for the cockpit windows of the Airbus. Another interesting new application is the usage of indium tin oxide in a new generation of solar cells.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

The most likely route for indium tin oxide nanoparticles to enter the human body is through inhalation (breathing in) of the raw material during processing. Other uptake routes like accidental swallowing of ITO nanoparticles are extremely unlikely. Eye contact should be avoided.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Irritation of the nose, throat and eyes are symptoms that can occur in humans upon exposure to high concentrations of ITO nanoparticles. Thus, air-borne exposure to indium tin oxide dust, e.g. during the production of displays, should be avoided. Indium tin oxide particles of 950 nm in size have been shown to cause lung damage in hamsters and this was linked to its accumulation in lung tissues. There is some evidence that indium tin oxide appears to dissolve in the body and forms soluble indium. Another study has shown a negative effect of indium tin oxide (ITO) on the reproductive capacity in animals.

 

Conclusion

For the consumer the chances of being exposed to indium tin oxide (ITO) are very small. However at the workplace (e.g. in in the solar cell industry) it is important to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid inhalation when handling this material.

Carbon Black

Carbon Black or carbon soot is a material with high economic importance containing pure carbon. Carbon Black is produced through specific combustion processes and the production of this material can be traced back more than one hundred years. It is used in many products including car tyres, printer toner, dyes for leather or textiles and mascara.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

As carbon black is used in many products, it is possible for it to be taken into the body through a range of exposure routes. These can include breathing (inhalation), for example from laser printer emissions, or through the skin (dermal uptake) when contact is made with cosmetics and textiles. It is worth noting that swallowing of carbon black (oral uptake) and uptake into the gut is not a common route of uptake for carbon black nanoparticles. Those at greatest risk from coming into contact with this material are the personnel who work in environments producing carbon black nanoparticles. This is a major topic in industry, as several million tons of these particles are produced per year and many studies have been carried out to measure the concentration of carbon black particles in the air and to investigate the possible impact these may have on the workers. When looking at the effects of carbon black on human health the environmental release of carbon particles, such as ultrafine dust from combustion processes or traffic seems to be a bigger issue than manufactured carbon black nanoparticles released from controlled production processes.

 

How dangerous is this material for humans and the environment?

Several points need to be taken into consideration when analysing the effects of carbon black in humans, animals or the environment. The purity level of the material is one consideration. Carbon black nanoparticles of high purity cause responses in organisms only at very high concentrations which are considered to be environmentally unrealistic. However, carbon black may contain contaminants either in the carbon material or on the surface of the particles themselves. Fine dust particles (from sources such as industry exhaust gases, car exhausts and cigarette smoking) consist of amorphous carbon and these particles may be loaded with other chemicals. These could enhance any potentially harmful effects on living organisms. Never the less it is possible that pure carbon black nanoparticles may have adverse lung effects when inhaled in large amounts.

 

Conclusion

Humans may have frequent contact with carbonaceous particles in the air but compared to particles from combustion processes and other unintended environmentally relevant release sources, pure carbon black has a less critical biological effect.

By the way…

  • Tattoo dyes may contain a high concentration of carbon black as it is often used as the black pigment.

Carbon Nanotubes

Since the discovery of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) in 1991, this group of carbon molecules has been considered as a wonder material due to some interesting properties. They are stronger than steel but very light in weight. Depending on the production method, the nanotubes can be conducting in nature, semi-conducting or even isolating, which makes this material very interesting for the electronic industry. But up to now production volumes of carbon nanotubes are still very low.

 

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

Since carbon nanotubes are produced in very low amounts and since their application is limited, the chance of direct contact of humans with these nanotubes is low. Carbon nanotubes are used in some composite materials or electronic components. Since there is no release of nanotubes from these products under normal circumstances there exists only a small chance of getting into contact with once the products are disposed of at the end of the products’ life cycle.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Due to their long and fibre-like structure carbon nanotubes may elicit fibre-like (adverse) biological effects in the lung which is why they have been thoroughly investigated from the beginning. A general principle is that fibre-like materials can cause lung problems if the fibres are longer than 15-20 micrometres (one fourth to one third of a diameter of a human hair). Fibres with such length are well-known to cause adverse effects in the lung inducing lung inflammation and lung tumours (asbestosis-like disease). This principle also applies to carbon nanotubes with a similar length and rigidity. The clearance mechanisms of the lung can’t cope with such long and stiff materials causing a permanent inflammation of the affected tissue(s) which may then lead to tumour formation after a prolonged period of time (20 to 30 years).

 

Conclusion

Due to the low production volume of carbon nanotubes there is unlikely to be significant negative influences for humans and the environment. The situation may change however if the worldwide production volumes increase significantly due to new applications and new products containing carbon nanotubes.

 

By the way…

  • In 2013 the Bayer Group closed its production site for carbon nanotubes due to economic reasons.

Nanoclays

Nanoclays (clay minerals) can be extracted from natural sources and used thereafter. The layered structure enables the material to either swell or shrink depending on its uptake capacity for water. In addition nanoclays are not flammable and the plastics industry uses this feature to improve fire safety of their products. Integrating nanoclays into the plastic reduces drastically the amount of combustible material and if the plastic material is on fire a protective is layer is formed preventing the spreading of the fire.

Further applications include nanoclays as additives in food contact materials which reduce the oxygen transport across the film and consequently enhance the lifetime of foodstuffs.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

Since nanoclays are mainly used as auxiliaries and firmly embedded in synthetic materials such as flame retardants there is no danger to get into direct contact with nanoclays.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Inhalation of nanoclay particles has been shown to cause only minimal and transient inflammation of lung tissue.

So far there are no data available on the behaviour of nanoclays in the environment. Since nanoclays are generated from naturally occurring sources it is difficult to distinguish between the natural and synthetic form of this material.

 

Conclusion

Nanoclays are considered to be harmless and are mainly used in flame retardant products.

 

By the way….

  • Nanoclays are a good example of naturally occurring nanomaterials.

Silicon Dioxide

Silicon dioxide is the main component of beach sand and is commonly known as quartz in its pure crystalline form. For industrial purposes the amorphous (non-crystalline form) silicon dioxide or silica is of greater importance. Amorphous silica can be found in a range of products including varnishes, glues and paints. It is also used in foods and in dietary supplements sold in drug stores and pharmacies.

 

 Fotolia.comHow can I come into contact with this material?

Dietary uptake of small amounts of silicon is important for the human body as silicon is one of the ultra-trace elements. Amorphous silicon dioxide is also being used as a food additive (labelled E551) or as a component in medicinal clay whereby it could enter the human body via the gastro-intestinal tract. Dermal uptake of silicon dioxide particles derived from contact with paints, inks or adhesives is highly unlikely. Quartz, the crystalline form of silicon dioxide, can be inhaled as fine dust that is released from underground mining activities when digging for ore, coal and other minerals. Since the overall amount of silica in the environment is very high it is difficult to distinguish between naturally occurring silica and industrially generated silicon dioxide.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Nanoscaled silicon dioxide occurs almost exclusively in its unstructured amorphous form which so far hasn’t shown any negative characteristics in all performed experiments from animal to environmental studies. Silicon is an essential ultra-trace element for the human body and silicon dioxide in its amorphous form is considered to be non-hazardous. On the other hand the crystalline version of silicon dioxide is known to be harmful to humans: those who are permanently exposed to quartz dust, e.g. at their work place below ground, carry a high risk for chronic lung diseases (e.g. silicosis) and other pathological changes in the lung.

 

Conclusion

Humans come into contact with silicon dioxide particles on a daily basis: at the beach, in food products, like paints, glues and many more and this also includes silicon dioxide nanoparticles. The amorphous form of silicon dioxide is considered to be non-hazardous whereas the crystalline form has been shown to cause severe lung toxicity both in animals and humans.

 

By the way…

  • Silicon dioxide is a constituent of many food supplements.
  • Some plants and animals store silica internally in order to make themselves harder.
  • Without silicon, there would be no computer chips or solar panels on the roof.

Strontium Carbonate

Strontium carbonate (SrCO3) was formerly used in large quantities in the manufacturing of CRT TVs (CRT = cathode-ray tubes) as strontium carbonate together with other compounds absorbs and reduces significantly (to almost zero) the X-rays generated from the television tubes. Nowadays, modern flat-panel devices have almost completely replaced these tubes. Currently, strontium carbonates are being used in pyrotechnics as colour-producing components – strontium produces a crimson red flame. The Latin term “Strontium carbonicum” refers to the homeopathic application of this material which is used to treat osteoarthritis and cerebral sclerosis.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

fireworksStrontium salts are used in fireworks to produce crimson red flames after ignition and it is not possible to get into direct contact with airborne strontium carbonate nanoparticles during the burning process. Homeopathic administered strontium carbonate could be considered as a targeted approach for medical purposes but it is not clear if the medical products contain micro- or nano-scaled strontium carbonate or even a mixture of both.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Little information exists on the effects of strontium carbonate nanoparticles on humans or the environment. This may be due to the relatively small number of applications for this material. Laboratory studies have shown that different cell types can take up strontium carbonate nanoparticles and high doses may lead to cell death. However, no harmful effects of strontium carbonate nanoparticles have been found in whole animal studies.

Regarding the environmental behaviour of strontium carbonate nanoparticles, there are currently no data available.

 

Conclusion

In recent years the use of strontium carbonate has been reduced drastically as flat-panel televisions have taken over the TV market. Contact with strontium carbonate nanoparticles could take place through the burning of fireworks or the intake of homeopathic medications. Up until now, no harmful effects of strontium carbonate have been found for the human body.

 

By the way…

  • Both strontium carbonate and strontium itself are non-toxic. Radioactive isotopes of strontium were found after nuclear disasters in Chernobyl (former USSR, today Ukraine) and in Fukushima (Japan). As these isotopes are chemically very similar to calcium, the strontium isotopes can accumulate in bone tissue and the resulting radiation could then in turn also damage the bone marrow.

Titanium Nitride

Titanium nitride (TiN) is an extremely hard material that is used as coating material for various tools and implants (TiN coating). It is also used in plastics such as PET flasks to improve the physical properties of these flasks and to improve the efficiency of PET manufacturing processes.

 

How can I come into contact with this material?

water bottleIt is generally assumed that no titanium nitride nanoparticles are being released from the various applications since the nanomaterial is always used in a bound form within the product, e.g. in coatings or plastic products.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

So far the potential negative effects of titanium nitride nanoparticles have been scarcely investigated. But the expert opinion today is that the use of titanium nitride in very thin layers (10 – 100 nm) on joint implants does not shown any harmful effect to human cells and thus is well-tolerated by the recipient of such prosthetic implants. However, whether titanium nitride nanoparticles could pose a danger to the environment has not been studied sufficiently to provide complete understanding here.

 

Conclusion

In everyday life, humans and the environment are exposed to very low levels of titanium nitride nanoparticles. Titanium nitride is considered to be non-toxic and therefore used as coating material for prosthetic implants

 

By the way…

  • Titanium nitride is a synthetic product that does not occur naturally.
  • No negative effects have been found upon dermal contact with titanium nitride particles.

Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is a hard metal and used in wear-resistant ceramics due to its exceptional hardness and stability, e.g. for the manufacturing of nozzles or tools. By adding metals like cobalt, iron or nickel to the tungsten carbide other hard metals are being generated with tungsten carbide-cobalt being one example.

 

end mill solid carbide © msl33 / Fotolia.comHow can I come into contact with this material?

Tungsten carbide is produced in form of powders which are then further processed to form ceramics. Handling of these powders e.g. at the work place can result in dust formation which in turn can be inhaled by the worker. Therefore protection measures are mandatory for workers handling these powder materials at the workplace which include the use of respiratory protection masks and the installation of suction exhaust pipes. Once the tungsten carbide nanoparticles are firmly bound within the final ceramic product there is little chance of direct contact with the material. Likewise no nanoparticles are being released during the daily handling of final products and thus no nanoparticles can enter the human body.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Tungsten carbide is one of the less hazardous substances and is classified as non-carcinogenic. Inhalation of tungsten carbide dust should be avoided, but until now, no major harmful effect to the lungs has been shown. In addition, the swallowing (oral uptake) of tungsten carbide is considered to be harmless. The release of tungsten carbide nanoparticles into the environment by production facilities is prevented by modern filtering facilities. All waste products are being collected and either recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste. A possible exposure scenario for the environment is an accidental release of tungsten carbide powder during its transport, but until now, no such incidents have been reported.

 

Conclusion

In our everyday life humans and environment are only exposed to very small amounts of tungsten carbide nanoparticles and there is no known danger associated with this material.

 

By the way…

  • Tungsten carbide is not found in nature but is produced from tungsten ore using technical processes.
  • Pure tungsten carbide nanoparticles are considered to be non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.
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