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Metal Oxide Nanoparticles Toxicity Summary

hinamoxConsortium of Scientists from the European project HINAMOX ending in September 2012, targeted on the study of the safety of nanoparticles delivered excellent and surprising results.

Within the last three years the extensive work of 7 groups across Europe (all of them members of the European Nanosafety Cluster) as well as from Mexico and China was targeted on the thorough in vitro and in vivo study of possible adverse effects caused by metal oxide nanoparticles. Cell proliferation, cytotoxicity, immune response, genotoxicity, dust formation experiments as well as intravenous, nasal, oral and topical administrations of five types of nanomaterials – oxides of aluminium, cerium, iron, titanium and zinc – were studied.

All materials - with exception of ZnO nanoparticles - showed

very low to no toxicity of all. Zinc oxide, contrary to other representatives of oxides family, showed considerable cytotoxic and cytostatic properties as well as immune response in the in vitro experiments. Breathing experiments performed on mice, also indicated low tolerable concentrations. Nonetheless, the long-term observation of the mice over 180 days after inhalation, showed complete recovery of the animals inhaling ZnO.

All in all, the massive data collected during this research study, indicates that the possible danger of nanomaterials is strongly overestimated. This work confirms the necessity of further intensive development of nanomaterials and nanotechnology, and though does not cancel the stipulation of further research in the field of materials' safety, yet considerably relieves many concerns related to the possible nanomaterials' hazards.

Results of the project were presented at over 60 national and international events; ca. 20 articles are to be published shortly. More details on the project are available at


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