Question
Asked 17th Feb, 2016
Deleted profile

I want to know whether diamond is toxic? If yes, what is the reason?

Many people believe that diamond is toxic. As diamond is pure carbon it can not be toxic to living creature. But, is there any other explanation?

Most recent answer

23rd Jul, 2020
Asif Ali
Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Diamond is not toxic.

Popular Answers (1)

17th Feb, 2016
Dylan Steer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Simply saying it's non-toxic because it's pure carbon is probably simplifying too much if you want a detailed answer.  I don't know of a scientific report on the toxicity of macroscale carbons, but if you make small particles (eg nanocarbons) then these can start to chemically or physically interfere with cellular mechanisms (eg there are scattered simulations of CNT and graphene penetration into and through lipid bilayers with varying results.  There are also a few studies generally showing you don't want to be exposed to nanocarbons.  Think asbestos).  
The consensus as far as I know is still out but nanocarbons are considered to be cytotoxic and possibly toxic.  Nanoparticles of diamond could be expected to fall into this class.  What you're referring to is simply that pure carbon is chemically inert (mostly) and won't chemically interact strongly with the body (if you eat diamonds the carbon won't be dissolved||absorbed greatly and can't have a large toxicity effect)
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All Answers (11)

17th Feb, 2016
Suhail Anjum Abdur Raheem Sayyed
Ahmednagar College
I think it is non-toxic.
17th Feb, 2016
Dylan Steer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Simply saying it's non-toxic because it's pure carbon is probably simplifying too much if you want a detailed answer.  I don't know of a scientific report on the toxicity of macroscale carbons, but if you make small particles (eg nanocarbons) then these can start to chemically or physically interfere with cellular mechanisms (eg there are scattered simulations of CNT and graphene penetration into and through lipid bilayers with varying results.  There are also a few studies generally showing you don't want to be exposed to nanocarbons.  Think asbestos).  
The consensus as far as I know is still out but nanocarbons are considered to be cytotoxic and possibly toxic.  Nanoparticles of diamond could be expected to fall into this class.  What you're referring to is simply that pure carbon is chemically inert (mostly) and won't chemically interact strongly with the body (if you eat diamonds the carbon won't be dissolved||absorbed greatly and can't have a large toxicity effect)
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17th Feb, 2016
Jonas Nyman
University of Wisconsin–Madison
In diamond, each carbon is bonded to four others in a perfect tetragonal lattice. Those bonds are very strong. This makes diamond chemically inert. It does not easily react with other chemicals. This makes it non-toxic.
However, a diamond particle introduced into the body might be recognized by the immune system as a foreign body. In this way it could conceivably be inflammatory in the same way as asbestos or smoke, just like Dylan Steer is suggesting. This has been tested in cell cultures, and no negative effects have been found. See here:
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Deleted profile
Thanks for your views.
In India there is strong belief that consuming diamond (especially the one in the rings) is deadly. This was often shown in older Hindi movies. I wonder where they got the idea!
I agree somewhat about the nanodiamond, which is only recently known and studied, could be toxic due to reactions with  internal organs/DNA/proteins (mostly physically).
20th Feb, 2016
Leonid V Vladimirov
Semenov Institute of Chemical Physics
tooth crowns from diamond are safe.  But of cause they could become dangerous if someone will lke to deprive me of them.
Regards,                              Leonid
27th Feb, 2016
Kunal Mondal
Idaho National Laboratory
Diamond is non-toxic since it is most stable form of carbon and does not react easily with others. However, it  could be a treated as a foreign body  if  comes in contact with internal organs.
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4th Mar, 2016
Daniel Poitras
National Research Council Canada
I agree with Dylan Steer:  particularly as fine particles, diamond is considered hazardous.  To convince yourself, look at some MSDS sheets of mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline diamond products (like polishing pastes).  It is probably similar to SiO2, which is considered hazardous when used as small particles (i.e. not allowed for sandblasting applications).
6th Apr, 2016
Jitendra Nuwad
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
Diamond is non-toxic and chemically inert material. A chemically pure bulk diamond have only carbon atoms so no question of toxicity.  
26th Apr, 2016
Vasily P. Mironov
Russian Academy of Sciences
Diamond is not toxic.
But in the Russian diamond processing it is considered harmful production. Diamond dust is inhaled into the lungs and causes blood. But it is not toxic, and mechanical damage.
V. Mironov
15th Sep, 2019
Sivaranjan Goswami
Gauhati University
Diamond is not toxic. However, many old Indian movies show someone or the other committing suicide by licking a diamond ring. Most of the time, the person who commits suicide is either a spy when captured by the enemy, or a queen when the king is killed in a battle.
Centuries ago, the spies and military officials of the kings carried diamond rings which were processed with cyanide (especially in the Indian Subcontinent). If they were caught by the enemy, they would commit suicide by licking the diamond ring in order to avoid torture and leaking of information to the enemy. Some queens too had such diamond rings so that if the king is killed in a battle, they can commit suicide, instead of being tortured and raped by the enemy.
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