Health, Environment and Nanosafety

A special issue of Nanomaterials (ISSN 2079-4991). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Nanoscience and Nanotechnology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 24938

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ernesto Alfaro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Head of Nanosafety, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, Braga, Portugal
Interests: assess the toxicity and safety of nanomaterials; evaluate cytotoxic, genotoxic, inflammation, local and systemic effects
Dr. Ayse Basak Engin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Toxicology, Gazi Üniversitesi, Ankara, Turkey
Interests: toxicity; human health; immunology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the development of nanotechnology and the use of nanomaterials have experienced exponential growth, and it is estimated that by 2022 the market of these nanomaterials may reach revenue of 9.1 billion USD in Europe only. In 2018 there were more than 11,000 new applications for patents related to nanotechnology in the United States and more than 1,700 in the European Office of Patents. The history has shown us that different types of particulate matter and their byproducts are related to seriously deleterious effects such as lung fibrosis, vascular effects, and cancer. Although our understanding of toxicity caused by nanoparticles has increased, there is still a large gap between the development of new nanomaterials and the ability to test for their safety for the environment, end-users and those involved in their production. In order to have a better understanding of the efforts related to evaluate how safe are already existing and new materials, and how to design new materials that are safe starting from the design, we are launching a special issue on Nanosafety, making special emphasis on health and environment.

Dr. Ernesto Alfaro
Dr. Ayse Basak Engin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • nanosafety
  • toxic effects
  • safe by design
  • in vitro
  • in silico
  • in vivo
  • health
  • environment

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 17097 KiB  
Article
Nanosafety Analysis of Graphene-Based Polyester Resin Composites on a Life Cycle Perspective
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(12), 2036; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12122036 - 14 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1553
Abstract
The use, production, and disposal of engineering nanomaterials (ENMs), including graphene-related materials (GRMs), raise concerns and questions about possible adverse effects on human health and the environment, considering the lack of harmonized toxicological data on ENMs and the ability of these materials to [...] Read more.
The use, production, and disposal of engineering nanomaterials (ENMs), including graphene-related materials (GRMs), raise concerns and questions about possible adverse effects on human health and the environment, considering the lack of harmonized toxicological data on ENMs and the ability of these materials to be released into the air, soil, or water during common industrial processes and/or accidental events. Within this context, the potential release of graphene particles, their agglomerates, and aggregates (NOAA) as a result of sanding of a battery of graphene-based polyester resin composite samples intended to be used in a building was examined. The analyzed samples were exposed to different weathering conditions to evaluate the influence of the weathering process on the morphology and size distribution of the particles released. Sanding studies were conducted in a tailored designed sanding bench connected to time and size resolving measurement devices. Particle size distributions and particle number concentration were assessed using an optical particle counter (OPC) and a condensation particle counter (CPC), respectively, during the sanding operation. A scanning electron microscope/energy dispersive X-ray (SEM/EDX) analysis was performed to adequately characterize the morphology, size, and chemical composition of the released particles. A toxicity screening study of pristine and graphene-based nanocomposites released using the aquatic macroinvertebrate Daphnia magna and relevant human cell lines was conducted to support risk assessment and decision making. The results show a significant release of nanoscale materials during machining operations, including differences attributed to the % of graphene and weathering conditions. The cell line tests demonstrated a higher effect in the human colon carcinoma cell line Caco2 than in the human fibroblasts (A549 cell line), which means that composites released to the environment could have an impact on human health and biota. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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20 pages, 4633 KiB  
Article
Airborne LTA Nanozeolites Characterization during the Manufacturing Process and External Sources Interaction with the Workplace Background
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(9), 1448; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12091448 - 24 Apr 2022
Viewed by 1313
Abstract
Engineered nanoscale amorphous silica nanomaterials are widespread and used in many industrial sectors. Currently, some types of silicon-based nanozeolites (NZs) have been synthesized, showing potential advantages compared to the analogous micro-forms; otherwise, few studies are yet available regarding their potential toxicity. In this [...] Read more.
Engineered nanoscale amorphous silica nanomaterials are widespread and used in many industrial sectors. Currently, some types of silicon-based nanozeolites (NZs) have been synthesized, showing potential advantages compared to the analogous micro-forms; otherwise, few studies are yet available regarding their potential toxicity. In this respect, the aim of the present work is to investigate the potential exposure to airborne Linde Type A (LTA) NZs on which toxicological effects have been already assessed. Moreover, the contributions to the background related to the main emission sources coming from the outdoor environment (i.e., vehicular traffic and anthropogenic activities) were investigated as possible confounding factors. For this purpose, an LTA NZ production line in an industrial factory has been studied, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) guidelines on multi-metric approach to investigate airborne nanoparticles at the workplace. The main emission sources of nanoparticulate matter within the working environment have been identified by real-time measurements (particle number concentration, size distribution, average diameter, and lung-deposited surface area). Events due to LTA NZ spillage in the air during the cleaning phases have been chemically and morphologically characterized by ICP-MS and SEM analysis, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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23 pages, 4158 KiB  
Article
Mechanisms of Silver Nanoparticle Uptake by Embryonic Zebrafish Cells
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(10), 2699; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11102699 - 13 Oct 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2379 | Correction
Abstract
Evaluation of the uptake pathways in cells during exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) is key for risk assessment and the development of safer nanomaterials, as the internalisation and fate of NPs is linked to their toxicity and mode of action. Here, we determined the [...] Read more.
Evaluation of the uptake pathways in cells during exposure to nanoparticles (NPs) is key for risk assessment and the development of safer nanomaterials, as the internalisation and fate of NPs is linked to their toxicity and mode of action. Here, we determined the uptake mechanisms activated during the internalisation of 10, 30, and 100 nm AgNPs by embryonic zebrafish cells (ZF4). The uptake results demonstrated an NP size- and time-dependent uptake, showing the highest total silver uptake for the smallest AgNP (10 nm) at the lowest exposure concentration (2.5 μg/mL) after 2 h, while after 24 h, the highest exposure concentration (10 μg/mL) of the 10 nm AgNPs revealed the highest cellular load at 8 pg/cell. Inhibition of the caveolae, clathrin, and macropinocytosis endocytic pathways by pharmaceutical inhibitors (genistein, chlorpromazine, and wortmannin respectively) revealed that uptake was mainly via macropinocytosis for the 10 nm AgNPs and via the caveolae-mediated pathway for the 30 and 100 nm AgNPs. The induction of autophagy was also strongly related to the NP size, showing the highest percentage of induction for the 10 nm (around 3%) compared to naive cells, suggesting that autophagy can be activated along with endocytosis to deal with exposure to NPs. TEM imaging revealed the distribution of NPs across the cytoplasm inside intracellular vesicles. An increase in Early Endosome formation (EE) was observed for the 30 and 100 nm sizes, whereas the 10 nm AgNPs disrupted the activity of EE. The data supports the establishment of adverse outcome pathways by increasing knowledge on the link between a molecular initiating event such as receptor-mediated endocytosis and an adverse outcome, as well as supporting the reduction of animal testing by using alternative testing models, such as fish cell lines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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16 pages, 3542 KiB  
Article
Effect of Graphene and Graphene Oxide on Airway Barrier and Differential Phosphorylation of Proteins in Tight and Adherens Junction Pathways
Nanomaterials 2021, 11(5), 1283; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano11051283 - 13 May 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2091
Abstract
Via inhalation we are continuously exposed to environmental and occupational irritants which can induce adverse health effects, such as irritant-induced asthma (IIA). The airway epithelium forms the first barrier encountered by these agents. We investigated the effect of environmental and occupational irritants on [...] Read more.
Via inhalation we are continuously exposed to environmental and occupational irritants which can induce adverse health effects, such as irritant-induced asthma (IIA). The airway epithelium forms the first barrier encountered by these agents. We investigated the effect of environmental and occupational irritants on the airway epithelial barrier in vitro. The airway epithelial barrier was mimicked using a coculture model, consisting of bronchial epithelial cells (16HBE) and monocytes (THP-1) seeded on the apical side of a permeable support, and human lung microvascular endothelial cells (HLMVEC) grown on the basal side. Upon exposure to graphene (G) and graphene oxide (GO) in a suspension with fetal calf serum (FCS), ammonium persulfate (AP), sodium persulfate (SP) and hypochlorite (ClO), the transepithelial electrical resistance (TEER) and flux of fluorescent labelled dextran (FD4-flux), was determined. Exposure to graphene nanoparticles (GNPs) induced an immediate negative effect on the epithelial barrier, whereas ClO only had a negative impact after 24 h of exposure. AP and SP did not affect the barrier properties. The tight junctions (TJ) network showed less connected zonula occludens 1 (ZO-1) and occludin staining in GNP-exposed cocultures. Functional analysis of the phosphoproteomic data indicated that proteins in the adherens junction (AJ) and TJ pathways showed an altered phosphorylation due to GNP exposure. To conclude, the negative effect of GNPs on the epithelial barrier can be explained by the slightly altered the TJ organization which could be caused by alterations in the phosphorylation level of proteins in the AJ and TJ pathway. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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Review

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37 pages, 3379 KiB  
Review
Nanosafety: An Evolving Concept to Bring the Safest Possible Nanomaterials to Society and Environment
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(11), 1810; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12111810 - 25 May 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4014
Abstract
The use of nanomaterials has been increasing in recent times, and they are widely used in industries such as cosmetics, drugs, food, water treatment, and agriculture. The rapid development of new nanomaterials demands a set of approaches to evaluate the potential toxicity and [...] Read more.
The use of nanomaterials has been increasing in recent times, and they are widely used in industries such as cosmetics, drugs, food, water treatment, and agriculture. The rapid development of new nanomaterials demands a set of approaches to evaluate the potential toxicity and risks related to them. In this regard, nanosafety has been using and adapting already existing methods (toxicological approach), but the unique characteristics of nanomaterials demand new approaches (nanotoxicology) to fully understand the potential toxicity, immunotoxicity, and (epi)genotoxicity. In addition, new technologies, such as organs-on-chips and sophisticated sensors, are under development and/or adaptation. All the information generated is used to develop new in silico approaches trying to predict the potential effects of newly developed materials. The overall evaluation of nanomaterials from their production to their final disposal chain is completed using the life cycle assessment (LCA), which is becoming an important element of nanosafety considering sustainability and environmental impact. In this review, we give an overview of all these elements of nanosafety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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19 pages, 331 KiB  
Review
Reproductive and Developmental Nanotoxicity of Carbon Nanoparticles
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(10), 1716; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12101716 - 17 May 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2016
Abstract
The presented review aims to summarize the knowledge regarding the reproductive and developmental toxicity of different types of carbon nanoparticles, such as graphene, graphene oxide, multi- and single-walled nanotubes, fullerenes, and nanodiamonds. Carbon nanoparticles have unique chemical and physical properties that make them [...] Read more.
The presented review aims to summarize the knowledge regarding the reproductive and developmental toxicity of different types of carbon nanoparticles, such as graphene, graphene oxide, multi- and single-walled nanotubes, fullerenes, and nanodiamonds. Carbon nanoparticles have unique chemical and physical properties that make them an excellent material that can be applied in many fields of human activity, including industry, food processing, the pharmaceutical industry, or medicine. Although it has a high degree of biocompatibility, possible toxic effects on different tissue types must also be taken into account. Carbon nanoparticles are known to be toxic to the respiratory, cardiovascular, nervous, digestive system, etc., and, according to current studies, they also have a negative effect on reproduction and offspring development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
13 pages, 1705 KiB  
Review
Nanoplastics and Human Health: Hazard Identification and Biointerface
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(8), 1298; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12081298 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 47 | Viewed by 6601
Abstract
Nanoplastics are associated with several risks to the ecology and toxicity to humans. Nanoplastics are synthetic polymers with dimensions ranging from 1 nm to 1 μm. They are directly released to the environment or secondarily derived from plastic disintegration in the environment. Nanoplastics [...] Read more.
Nanoplastics are associated with several risks to the ecology and toxicity to humans. Nanoplastics are synthetic polymers with dimensions ranging from 1 nm to 1 μm. They are directly released to the environment or secondarily derived from plastic disintegration in the environment. Nanoplastics are widely detected in environmental samples and the food chain; therefore, their potentially toxic effects have been widely explored. In the present review, an overview of another two potential sources of nanoplastics, exposure routes to illustrate hazard identification of nanoplastics, cell internalization, and effects on intracellular target organelles are presented. In addition, challenges on the study of nanoplastics and future research areas are summarized. This paper also summarizes some approaches to eliminate or minimize the levels of nanoplastics to ensure environmental safety and improve human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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29 pages, 2855 KiB  
Review
Nanomaterial Exposure, Extracellular Vesicle Biogenesis and Adverse Cellular Outcomes: A Scoping Review
Nanomaterials 2022, 12(7), 1231; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano12071231 - 06 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3492
Abstract
The progressively increasing use of nanomaterials (NMs) has awakened issues related to nanosafety and its potential toxic effects on human health. Emerging studies suggest that NMs alter cell communication by reshaping and altering the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs), leading to dysfunction in [...] Read more.
The progressively increasing use of nanomaterials (NMs) has awakened issues related to nanosafety and its potential toxic effects on human health. Emerging studies suggest that NMs alter cell communication by reshaping and altering the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs), leading to dysfunction in recipient cells. However, there is limited understanding of how the physicochemical characteristics of NMs alter the EV content and their consequent physiological functions. Therefore, this review explored the relevance of EVs in the nanotoxicology field. The current state of the art on how EVs are modulated by NM exposure and the possible regulation and modulation of signaling pathways and physiological responses were assessed in detail. This review followed the manual for reviewers produced by The Joanna Brigs Institute for Scoping Reviews and the PRISMA extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR): checklist and explanation. The research question, “Do NMs modulate cellular responses mediated by EVs?” was analyzed following the PECO model (P (Population) = EVs, E (Exposure) = NMs, C (Comparator) = EVs without exposure to NMs, O (Outcome) = Cellular responses/change in EVs) to help methodologically assess the association between exposure and outcome. For each theme in the PECO acronym, keywords were defined, organized, and researched in PubMed, Science Direct, Scopus, Web of Science, EMBASE, and Cochrane databases, up to 30 September 2021. In vitro, in vivo, ex vivo, and clinical studies that analyzed the effect of NMs on EV biogenesis, cargo, and cellular responses were included in the analysis. The methodological quality assessment was conducted using the ToxRTool, ARRIVE guideline, Newcastle Ottawa and the EV-TRACK platform. The search in the referred databases identified 2944 articles. After applying the eligibility criteria and two-step screening, 18 articles were included in the final review. We observed that depending on the concentration and physicochemical characteristics, specific NMs promote a significant increase in EV secretion as well as changes in their cargo, especially regarding the expression of proteins and miRNAs, which, in turn, were involved in biological processes that included cell communication, angiogenesis, and activation of the immune response, etc. Although further studies are necessary, this work suggests that molecular investigations on EVs induced by NM exposure may become a potential tool for toxicological studies since they are widely accessible biomarkers that may form a bridge between NM exposure and the cellular response and pathological outcome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health, Environment and Nanosafety)
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