ABSTRACT (click the link above to access a PDF of the whole article):
Nano materials generate great benefits as well as new potential risks. Animal studies and in vitro experiments show that nano particles can result in lung damage and other toxicity, but no reports on the clinical toxicity in humans due to nano particles have yet been made.
The study aims to examine the relationship between a group of workers' mysterious symptomatic findings and their nano particle exposure.
Seven young female workers (18–47 years), exposed to nano particles for 5–13 months, all with shortness of breath and pleural effusions, were admitted to the hospital. Immunologic tests, examinations of bacteriology, virology and tumour markers, bronchoscope, internal thoracoscopy, and video-assisted thoracic surgery were performed. Survey of the workplace, clinical observations and examinations on patients were conducted.
Polyacrylate, consisting of nano particles, was confirmed in the workplace. Pathological examinations of patients' lung tissue displayed non-specific pulmonary inflammation, pulmonary fibrosis and foreign-body granulomas of pleura. By transmission electron microscopy, nano particles were observed to lodge in the cytoplasm and caryoplasm of pulmonary epithelial and mesothelial cells, but also locate in the chest fluid. These cases arouse concern that long-term exposure to some nano particles without protective measures may be related to serious damage to human lungs.