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Research Paper published in the European Respiratory Journal (August 2009)

A research paper published in the European Respiratory Journal documents for the first time a clinical case in which a team of medical doctors concluded that exposure to nanoparticles was determined to have resulted in harm to workers.

The medical case study documents in clinical detail the cases of seven women who were hospitalized for pulmonary health problems after workplace exposure to ~30 nm nanoparticles contained in or produced by the spraying of a polyacrylic ester paste. An extensive clinical evaluation was undertaken to determine the cause of the workers’ respiratory symptoms, which included shortness of breath, buildup of fluid in the chest cavity (pleural effusion) and around the heart (pericardial effusion) and itching on the face and arms. The clinical findings included nonspecific pulmonary inflammation, pulmonary fibrosis and foreign-body granulomas in the pleura. Ultimately, two of the women died from respiratory failure and others exhibited persistent lung dysfunction 20 months after first being hospitalized. The women’s clinical symptoms are consistent with the outcomes of animal studies in which nanoparticles have been intentionally introduced into the lungs.

For more about this study, see the entry in the Virtual Journal listings below ("Exposure to nanoparticles is related to pleural effusion, pulmonary fibrosis and garnuloma") and read the blog postings here and here.

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This work is supported in part by the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Initiative of the National Science Foundation
under NSF Award Number EEC-0118007.

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