CANCER

The health hazards of fiber intake

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Science  08 Dec 2017:
Vol. 358, Issue 6368, pp. 1267-1268
DOI: 10.1126/science.358.6368.1267-c

Carbon nanotube fibers cause mesothelioma in mice.

ILLUSTRATION: SCIENCE PICTURE CO/SCIENCE SOURCE

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are used in a variety of commercial applications, from automotive parts to computers. Increased human exposure to these nanomaterials has sparked concerns about possible health risks because CNTs have structural similarities to asbestos, which causes the incurable cancer mesothelioma. A new study in mice does not alleviate these concerns. Chernova et al. delivered either long-fiber asbestos or long-fiber CNTs into the pleural cavity of mice and found that the treatments both induced chronic inflammation and activated the same signaling pathways. By 12 to 20 months after exposure, at least 10% of the mice in each group had developed mesothelioma. These results suggest that CNTs pose health risks similar to those of asbestos and that human exposure to them should be monitored.

Curr. Biol. 27, 3302 (2017).

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