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Toxicity of Synthetic Fibres and Human Health (OPEN ACCESS)

  • Khalsa College Amritsar


Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage an organism. Whenever we go for shopping for our clothes, we don’t know, how toxic and harmful that piece of fabric could be for our health. Neither do we think of its origin nor its manufacturing process and the toxic load on our body and on environment. The purpose for writing this article is to make the people aware of harmful and dangerous effects of synthetic and semi-synthetic fibres. In older times, most of the fabrics used were made from the fibres that were derived from natural sources like cotton, wool, silk and jute. Those fibres were traditional, ecofriendly and non-toxic to wear by any means. But now a day’s many fabrics used in draperies, bedding, automobile furnishing, offices, schools and hospitals are made from synthetic fibres. Many synthetic fabrics are also used for personal applications like designer wear, fashion costumes and seasonal wear because of many properties like wrinkle resistance, easy to wash, easy to store but most of them are manufactured with tons of chemicals. These are highly toxic and are increasing the negative effects on our health. These synthetic fabrics also pose a serious threat to ecological balance.
Citation: Singh Z and Bhalla S. Toxicity of Synthetic Fibres & Health. Adv Res Text Eng. 2017; 2(1): 1012.
Adv Res Text Eng - Volume 2 Issue 1 - 2017
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Advance Research in Textile Engineering
Open Access
Toxicity is the degree to which a substance can damage an organism.
Whenever we go for shopping for our clothes, we don’t know, how toxic and
harmful that piece of fabric could be for our health. Neither do we think of its
origin nor its manufacturing process and the toxic load on our body and on
environment. The purpose for writing this article is to make the people aware of
harmful and dangerous effects of synthetic and semi-synthetic bres. In older
times, most of the fabrics used were made from the bres that were derived from
natural sources like cotton, wool, silk and jute. Those bres were traditional, eco-
friendly and non-toxic to wear by any means. But now a day’s many fabrics used
in draperies, bedding, automobile furnishing, ofces, schools and hospitals are
made from synthetic bres. Many synthetic fabrics are also used for personal
applications like designer wear, fashion costumes and seasonal wear because
of many properties like wrinkle resistance, easy to wash, easy to store but most
of them are manufactured with tons of chemicals. These are highly toxic and are
increasing the negative effects on our health. These synthetic fabrics also pose
a serious threat to ecological balance.
Keywords: Textile; Chemicals; Toxicity; Synthetic bres; Health effects
Cuprammonium process
In this process, cotton linters or wood pulp is bleached with chlorine
and is boiled in sodium hydroxide solution. en cuprammonium
hydroxide solution is prepared by adding ammonium hydroxide to
a solution of copper sulphate and is forced through spinneret into
sulphuric acid for coagulation.
Viscose process
Rayon bres are prepared by treating wood chips with number
of chemicals one by one including caustic soda and soda ash (sodium
carbonate), hydrochloric acid, carbon sulphate and in the end with
sulphuric acid for coagulation.
Acetate rayon
In this process, cotton linters or wood pulp is treated with various
chemicals to make the bres. First of all, these are treated with caustic
soda and soda ash; and then are treated with bleaching powder. Aer
this treatment, washing is done with hydrochloric acid and steeped
in glacial acetic acid for acetylating of reaction. It is treated with
anhydride solution, glacial acetic acid, conc. sulphuric acid, which
acts as catalyst. en ageing is done in acetic acid and sulphuric acid.
Titanium dioxide, a delustrant is added to deluster the bre and
solution is forced through spinneret. Titanium dioxide is known for
its toxicity in dierent models [6-12]. When wood pulp is bleached, a
by-product called dioxin is released which is known to be toxic [13-
e processing treatment can use several toxic chemicals. e
combination of these chemicals can linger on the clothing causing
rayon wearers to suer from nausea, vomiting, headache and
chest pain. More serious health issues include necrosis, anorexia,
polyneuropathy, paralysis, insomnia and Parkinson’s disease.
Textile industry is one of the largest sector providing jobs to lakhs
of workers every year. Textile industries are engaging workers under
dierent job categories. Textile industry is using dierent kinds of
chemicals for dierent industrial processes. ese chemicals used
in the industries are found to be toxic in dierent research studies.
Even, textile wastewaters have been tested for the chemicals being
present in many studies [1-3]. Fibres are the smallest unit used as
raw material for making yarns and fabrics. ere are two types of
bres including natural bres (derived from vegetables, animals or
mineral bres) like cotton, jute, linen, wool and silk; and man-made
bres (synthetic bres) which are made synthetically in laboratories
by using chemicals. ese processed bres are posing serious threats
to the health of humans [4,5]. In this paper, an attempt has been made
to summarize the chemicals being used in the making of various
synthetic textile bres and their toxicities. Synthetic may also be
categorized into semi-synthetic bres and all-synthetic bres.
Semi Synthetic Fibres
Rayon bres are of vegetable origin and are derived from
cellulose. We can get rayon bres by dissolving the natural cellulose
to form spinning solution of regenerated cellulose and then forcing
this solution through a spinneret to extrude laments and then
coagulating them. Rayon bres can be produced through various
Nitrocellulose process
In this process, the linters are treated with a mixture of sulphuric
acid and nitric acid to convert cellulose into nitrocellulose. e
nitrocellulose is then dissolved in alcohol or ether and forced through
spinneret. e bre is highly inammable at this stage. erefore, it is
denitrated by treating with sodium hydrosulphide.
Review Article
Toxicity of Synthetic Fibres & Health
Singh Z1 and Bhalla S2*
1Department of Zoology, Khalsa College, India
2Department of Fashion Designing, PCM S.D. College for
Women, India
*Corresponding author: Sunita Bhalla, Department of
Fashion Designing, PCM S.D. College for Women, India
Received: October 05, 2016; Accepted: January 03,
2017; Published: January 05, 2017
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All Synthetic Fibres
All-synthetic bres include Nylon, Polyester, Lycra and Spandex.
ese are synthesized from various elements into large molecules by
reacting various chemicals with each other. Biological monitoring
has been done before in many studies for the ill eects the chemicals
used in the synthetic bre formation [4,19]. ese are used for wide
variety of apparels, home furnishing and industrial products, swim
wear, foundation garments hosiery and sportswear. ese are popular
because they are thermoplastic, resilient, elastic and very strong.
Polyester bres are synthetic textile bres formed by condensation
polymerization of two monomers: dicarboxylic acid or terephthalic
acid and ethylene glycol. Terephthalic acid is obtained by oxidizing
para-xylene and nitric acid at 200ºC using cobalt toluate as catalyst.
Para-xylene is derived from petroleum during polymerization. It is a
component in the production of terephthalic acid for polyesters such
as polyethylene terephthalate. Xylene has been shown to have toxic
eects [20-27]. If terephthalic acid is being used then hydrochloric
acid is added as catalyst. If diethyl terephthalate is used, then sodium
is added as catalyst. Both terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol are
known carcinogens. Since the monomers are toxic, the toxicity of
their polymerization product should not be ignored.
Monomeric forms are not completely removed from bres, but
they are trapped during manufacturing process. ese forms may
enter the human body through skin. Phytoestrogens are emitted by
polyester which act as endocrine disrupters and also cause certain
type of cancers. As the polyester bre is bad conductor of heat and
sweat, it is responsible for acute skin rashes, redness, and itching. On
wearing for a long time, it can cause acute and chronic respiratory
infections. Polyester is also responsible for reproductive system
disorders like reduced sperm counts.
Nylon is also made by condensation polymerization. e
raw material is converted into two coal tar products: adipic acid
and hexamethylene diamine. ese are heated to form condensed
product called nylon salt which is a polymer. e petrochemicals
used for polymerization of nylon are non eco-friendly. Chemicals in
the form of residues are retained by nylon fabric even aer complete
manufacture. As nylon bre is bad conductor of heat, it does not
allow the sweat and body heat to pass through. Formaldehyde in
fabrics emitted by body heat causes skin allergies, eye watering and
is a known potent carcinogen also. Delustrant chemical (titanium
oxide), barium sulphate an antistatic substance cause hyper skin
pigmentation, dermatitis and functioning of central nervous system
as disorientation, dizziness, headache and spine pain. Green house
gases like nitrous oxide and harmful volatile organic compounds are
also emitted by nylon fabric.
Spandex is an elastomeric bre means it has a superior elasticity
and has a smooth nish due to which it is commonly used for
making shorts, tights, leggings, shirts and undergarments. It is
molecularly described as to be composed of a chain like arrangements
of so stretchable segments of polyurethane linked together for
reinforcement by hard segment. During manufacturing process of
spandex bre, a linear soluble polyurethane is dissolved in a strong
solvent like Di Methyl Formamide (DMF), dimethyl acetamide or
dimethyl sulfaoxide. Due to use of these strong chemicals in the
manufacturing process of spandex bres, wearing these bres for
long time, it can cause skin allergies. Occupational health status of
the workers in spandex industry has also been reported [28]. As the
bres don’t have the ability to absorb sweat, once you start sweating
beneath spandex, chemical could be released into the skin from the
dyes and formaldehyde used on the fabric which causes allergies.
Contact dermatitis due to spandex is a commonly seen side eect
[29-34]. Due to the inability of spandex to absorb sweat, skin can
become fertile ground for dierent bacterial infections. Folliculitis
and impetigo is also fairly common & caused due to long wear of
spandex bres.
Acrylic bre is any long chain synthetic polymer composed
of at least 85% by weight of acrylonitrile units. Acrylonitrile may
be made from acetylene or from ethylene. Both are petroleum
derivatives. When the ethylene is treated with hyprochlorous acid,
a chlorohydrin is reacted with sodium hydroxide to form ethylene
oxide. Hydrocyanic acid is added to ethylene oxide producing cyano-
alcohol which is dehydrated to yield acrylonitrile.
Sr. No. Name of the Chemical
used Name of the Fibre Side effects on health
1. Sulphuric acid Used in manufacturing process of rayon Can cause skin rashes, itching, redness, dermatitis, necrosis and
2. Carbon disulphide Emitted from rayon fabric Can cause nausea, headache, vomiting, chest and muscle pain;
and insomnia
3. Nitric acid Used in rayon Can produce injuries to the skin, eye, respiratory and
gastrointestinal tract
4. Ethylene glycol Used in manufacturing of polyester bre It can cause dysrhythmias and heart failure
5. Hexamethylene diamine Used in manufacturing of nylon bre Can irritate skin, eyes, nose, throat and lungs; may also damage
the liver and kidneys, infertility in men
6. Dimethyl formamide Used in spinning process of acrylic bre Causes skin rashes and liver damage
7. Formaldehyde Used in spandex, acrylic, nylon and polyester bres Causes skin allergies and eye watering
8. Barium sulphate Used as antistatic substance in the nishing of polyester,
nylon, spandex and acrylic bres
Causes hyper skin pigmentation, dermatitis, dizziness, headache
and spine pain
9. Terepthalic acid Used in manufacturing polyester bre Carcinogenic
10. Acrylonitrile It is used in manufacturing of acrylic bre Carcinogenic and has bad effects on
central nervous system
Table 1: Side effects of the chemicals used in the textile bre manufacture.
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e acrylonitrile is then polymerized into polyacrylonitrile
resin, a long chain linear polymer. e polyacrylonitrile is dissolved
in DMF and extruded through a spinneret and stretched to form
bre. Delustrant is also added to make it semi dull. In spite of their
antistatic nish, heat setting and water repellency nish is also given
using many chemicals. It is designed for use in bulky knits and in
hand knitting yarns. DMF used in spinning process of acrylic bres
is easily absorbed through the skin and can cause liver damage and
other adverse health eects [35-39].
If one is facing some mysterious health symptoms like skin rashes,
nausea, fatigue, burning, itching, headaches and breathing problems
and you cannot seem to get control over, it is worth checking out
whether your clothes could be the problem. All these symptoms may
be associated with chemicals which are used in manufacturing the
fabrics. Table 1 shows the side eects of the chemicals used in the
manufacture of dierent bres.
A number of toxic chemicals are used in the manufacturing
process of the synthetic bres. Keeping in mind, all the bad eects of
toxic chemicals being used in the manufacturing process of synthetic
bres, we should try to use textiles and fabrics which are made from
natural bres and are eco-friendly. Organic clothing should be chosen
for the garments which remain closest to the skin most of the time
including underwear’s, sleepwears and camisoles. We should move
in a healthier direction with our right choice of clothing to reduce our
chemical load.
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Citation: Singh Z and Bhalla S. Toxicity of Synthetic Fibres & Health. Adv Res Text Eng. 2017; 2(1): 1012.
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... Serat alam diperoleh dari tumbuhan maupun hewan seperti kapas, wol, linen, dan sutera. Sedangkan serat yang dibuat oleh manusia disebut sebagai serat buatan atau sintetis (Singh and Bhalla, 2017). Serat buatan digolongkan menjadi tiga kelompok yaitu serat yang dibuat dari polimer alam (rayon viskosa, karbamat, lyocell), serat dari polimer sintetis (poliester, nilon, akrilik, spandex, modal), dan serat dari bahan anorganik (serat logam) (Noerati et al., 2013). ...
... Selanjutnya larutan selulosa dope diekstrusi melalui spinneret dan pelarut pada serat kemudian diuapkan sehingga diperoleh benang (proses pemintalan kering). Titanium dioksida yang digunakan dikenal sebagai senyawa yang beracun (Singh and Bhalla, 2017;Sayyed, Deshmukh and Pinjari, 2019). Alur proses pembuatan serat asetat seperti pada Gambar 4. ...
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Serat sintetis dari minyak bumi memiliki posisi penting dalam produk tekstil. Lebih dari 50% produksi serat dunia didominasi oleh serat sintetik. Meskipun serat sintetik lebih murah, produktivitasnya tinggi, dan lebih tahan lama tetapi serat tersebut tidak dapat terurai secara alami dan proses pembuatannya menggunakan bahan yang dapat merusak lingkungan dan mengancam kesehatan. Meningkatnya kesadaran terhadap isu-isu terkait ekologi dan lingkungan telah mendorong pencarian solusi alternatif bahan baku dan pengembangan metode pembuatan serat yang ramah lingkungan. Serat regenerasi merupakan jenis serat semisintetik yang dibuat dari hasil regenerasi selulosa yang menggunakan bahan baku terbarukan yaitu kayu dan nonkayu yang diproses lebih lanjut menjadi dissolving pulp. Serat ini lebih ramah lingkungan karena lebih mudah terdegradasi. Metode regenerasi serat selulosa lebih berkelanjutan dibandingkan penggunaan bahan baku minyak bumi yang ketersediannya terbatas. Dalam makalah ini dipaparkan sejumlah metode pembuatan serat rayon untuk tekstil menggunakan proses konvensional hingga proses alternatif yang lebih ramah lingkungan. Proses tersebut antara lain proses nitrat, cuproammonium, asetat, viskosa, lyocell, larutan ionik, modal, dan karbamat. Tujuan makalah ini adalah untuk memberikan informasi komprehensif mengenai berbagai proses pembuatan serat rayon serta keunggulan dan kelemahan yang menyertainya, karakteristik dan sifat serat yang diperoleh, dan metode terbaru seperti lyocell dan larutan ionik memiliki dampak lingkungan yang relatif rendah sehingga memiliki potensi untuk dikembangkan. Review: Making Rayon FiberAbstractSynthetic fibers from petroleum have an important position in textile products. More than 50% of the world’s fiber production is dominated by synthetic fibers. Although synthetic fibers are cheaper, high productivity, and more durable, they cannot biodegrade naturally and the manufacturing process uses materials that can damage the environment and threaten health. Increased awareness of issues related to ecology and the environment hasled to the search for alternative solutions for new raw materials and the development of environmentally friendly fiber making process. Regenerated fiber is a type of semisynthetic fiber made from cellulose regeneration using renewable raw materials such as wood and non-wood which are further processed into dissolving pulp. This fiber is more environmentally friendly because it is more easily degraded. Regenerated fiber methods are more sustainable than the use of petroleum raw materials which have limited availability. In this paper, a number of methods for making rayon fibers for textiles are presented using conventional processes to alternative processes that are more environmentally friendly. These processes include nitrate, cuproammonium, acetate, viscose, lyocell, ionic solution, modal, and carbamate. The purpose of this paper is to provide comprehensive information on the various processes of making rayon fibers as well as the advantages and disadvantages, the characteristics and properties of the fibers, and the latest methods such as lyocells and ionic solutions have relatively low environmental impact so that they have the potential to be developed.Keywords: dissolving pulp, rayon fiber, cellulose, textile, viscose
... Going by the current trend and reliable estimations, by 2050, the production of textiles from virgin sources will expend 300 million tons of oil and generate 26% of carbon emissions, an over 200% and 1200% increment compared to 2015 statistics, respectively [86,87]. According to health experts, the production of textiles from virgin sources aggravates the concentration of synthetic polymers in the atmosphere, exacerbates environmental pollution, and causes damage to human health [82,88]. ...
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The management of the huge amounts of waste generated from domestic and industrial activities has continued to be a source of concern for humanity globally because of its impact on the ecosystem and human health. Millions of tons of such used materials, substances, and products are therefore discarded, rejected, and abandoned, because they have no further usefulness or application. Additionally, owing to the dearth of affordable materials for various applications, the environmental impact of waste, and the high cost of procuring virgin materials, there have been intensive efforts directed towards achieving the reduction, minimization, and eradication of waste in human activities. The current review investigates zero-waste (ZW) manufacturing and the various techniques for achieving zero waste by means of resource recycling. The benefits and challenges of applying innovative technologies and waste recycling techniques in order to achieve ZW are investigated. Techniques for the conversion of waste glass, paper, metals, textiles, plastic, tire, and wastewater into various products are highlighted, along with their applications. Although waste conversion and recycling have several drawbacks, the benefits of ZW to the economy, community, and environment are numerous and cannot be overlooked. More investigations are desirable in order to unravel more innovative manufacturing techniques and innovative technologies for attaining ZW with the aim of pollution mitigation, waste reduction, cost-effective resource recovery, energy security, and environmental sustainability.
... Meanwhile, it would be better if clothes were washed before use. As indicated, to lower our chemical load, we need to follow a healthy path with our wardrobe choices [27]. ...
Background Formaldehyde is a chemical used in several textile production processes, such as hardening of fibers and antimold finishing. However, it has varying effects on humans, such as irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, wheezing, chest pains and bronchitis. In the midst of COVID-19, individuals are using various fabrics for face mask production, which may be containing levels of formaldehyde that can negatively affect their health. Methods This study investigated formaldehyde levels in fabrics on the Ghanaian market to determine compliance to standards set by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) with the aid of experimental procedures. Thirty-two (32) different brands of fabrics were selected for the investigation. Formaldehyde levels were determined using a spectrophotometer (DR6000). Data were analyzed using the Statistical Product and Service Solutions (SPSS) for Windows version 22. The mean performance attributes and the formaldehyde levels of the sampled fabrics were determined before and after washing. Inferential statistics (Analysis of Variance and Paired Samples t-test) at 0.05 alpha levels were used to determine significant differences between and among the groups involved. Results The fabric samples tested positive for formaldehyde before and after washing, with some exceeding the standard limits set by the GSA before washing. Significant differences existed between and among the samples with regard to formaldehyde levels as well as weight and weave types of the samples and formaldehyde levels. Conclusion Washing significantly reduced the formaldehyde levels in the fabrics. It is recommended that Ghana standards authority takes a further look at the fabrics on the Ghanaian market to ensure manufacturers comply with set standards and consumers are also advised to wash their clothes at least once before use to reduce the level of impact formaldehyde resin may have on them.
... These polymeric synthetic fibres are fabricated into distinct varieties such as polyamide, polyester and acrylic fabrics with enhanced durability. However, these fibres are toxic to the environment due to the involvement of toxic chemicals as monomers in the polymerization process (Singh and Bhalla 2017). In addition, synthetic fibres can serve as a nutrient medium for microbial growth, as microbes can degrade the polymers and consume them as their nutrition. ...
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In recent times, the search for innovative material to fabricate smart textiles has been increasing to satisfy the expectation and needs of the consumers, as the textile material plays a key role in the evolution of human culture. Further, the textile materials provide an excellent environment for the microbes to grow, because of their large surface area and ability to retain moisture. In addition, the growth of harmful bacteria on the textile material not only damages them but also leads to intolerable foul odour and significant danger to public health. In particular, the pathogenic bacteria present in the fabric surface can cause severe skin infections such as skin allergy and irritation via direct human contact and even can lead to heart problems and pneumonia in certain cases. Recently, nanoparticles and nanomaterials play a significant role in textile industries for developing functional smart textiles with self-cleaning, UV-protection, insect repellent, waterproof, anti-static, flame-resistant and antimicrobial-resistant properties. Thus, this review is an overview of various textile fibres that favour bacterial growth and potential antibacterial nanoparticles that can inhibit the growth of bacteria on fabric surfaces. In addition, the probable antibacterial mechanism of nanoparticles and the significance of the fabric surface modification and fabric finishes in improving the long-term antibacterial efficacy of nanoparticle-coated fabrics were also discussed.
... In aspect of health, synthetic materials in fabrics are highly toxic and are increasing the negative effects on our health. These synthetic fabrics also pose a serious threat to ecological balance [1]. ...
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In this study, cylindrical tubes of functionally graded natural fibre reinforced polymer (FGNF/epoxy) composite are fabricated using horizontal centrifugal casting method. Natural fibres (NF) used in this research are coconut coir and oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB). Natural fibres are mixed with epoxy at four different compositions which is at 0%, 5%, 10% and 15%. The study aims to determine the mechanical properties and microstructure of the FGNF/Epoxy composites. In this method, a homogenous mixture of epoxy liquid and natural fibres is inserted into mould simultaneously. Then, the mould is rotated at a constant speed for 4 hours. Effect of this process, the natural fibres particles in epoxy liquid move radial during mould rotation. Hardness and compression test are carried out to characterize the FGNF/epoxy cylindrical tubes. The microstructures of the composites are observed using optical microscope (OM) and scanning electron microscope (SEM). From the microstructural observation, it is found that the natural fibres particles can be graded from inner to outer surfaces of the FGNF/epoxy cylindrical tubes. The hardness value of the outer part of the FGNF/epoxy fabricated is higher than the middle and inner parts. Besides, from the compression test it shows that epoxy reinforced NF give a better result in strength compared to specimen without reinforced NF. However, the strength value decrease when the fibres percentage increase more than 5%. FGNF/epoxy with 5% NF content gives a balanced composition to have high hardness value and strength.
Currently, only 1% of waste textiles, mainly whites, are recycled because dyes on fibers caused various problems. Unseparated colors might sublime during the fiber regeneration process and pollute the working environment. More seriously, final color quality of regenerated fibers is uncontrollable. Technologies for complete color removal from waste textiles either by dye-destruction or extraction have major challenges impeding their industrialization. Dye-destruction damages polymers, changes dyeability of regenerated textiles, and pollutes the environment. Since the differences in solubility parameters between polymers and dyes are large, and dye extractions focuses on finding solvents with high dye solubility, dye-extraction fails to remove all dyes from textiles. Finding solvents is almost impossible to lower the chemical potential of dyes in solutions than that in fibers where dyes are accessible, and polymers are tightly arranged. Lessening fiber density substantially disrupts physical interactions between dyes and fibers, and thus raises chemical potential of dyes in all parts of fibers higher than that in solutions, although reducing fiber density might increase the chemical potential of dyes in solvents. Here we demonstrate that minimization of fiber density by solvents and temperatures completely removes disperse dyes, acid dyes and direct dyes from polyethylene terephthalate, nylon and cotton fibers, respectively. The chemical structures of dyes and average molecular weight polymers did not change after dye removal.
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AsbestosAsbestos is a fibrous natural material that possesses outstanding technological properties exploited since the time of its discovery for the manufacture of various building materials. Unfortunately, as known since the mid-1950s, both humans and animals exposed to asbestos fibres may develop a number of lethal respiratory diseases. Consequently, international medical and health organizations have classified asbestos as a human carcinogen and many countries worldwide have banned its use. Besides a short historical chronicle, this chapter provides a classification of asbestos minerals, applications in building materials, as well as its toxicityToxicityand pathogenicityPathogenicity mechanisms. The global asbestos issue and its use as a building material today will be the core of the chapter. In addition, a section is dedicated to the description of the reclaim, disposalDisposaland recyclingRecyclingof asbestosAsbestos containing materials and a description of the substitutes of asbestos used today in building materials.
Marine and land plastic debris biodegrades at micro- and nanoscales through progressive fragmentation. Oceanographic model studies confirm the presence of up to ∼2.41 million tons of microplastics across the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian subtropical gyres. Microplastics distribute from primary (e.g., exfoliating cleansers) and secondary (e.g., chemical deterioration) sources in the environment. This anthropogenic phenomenon poses a threat to the flora and fauna of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as ingestion and entanglement cases increase over time. This review focuses on the impact of microplastics across taxa at suggested environmentally relevant concentrations, and advances the groundwork for future ecotoxicological-based research on microplastics including the main points: (i) adhesion of chemical pollutants (e.g., PCBs); (ii) biological effects (e.g., bioaccumulation, biomagnification, biotransportation) in terrestrial and aquatic organisms; (iii) physico-chemical properties (e.g., polybrominated diphenyl ethers) and biodegradation pathways in the environment (e.g., chemical stress, heat stress); and (iv) an ecotoxicological prospect for optimized impact assessments.
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Purpose: There are still concerns regarding occupational exposure to hepatotoxic DMF. This study was designed to evaluate possible liver damaging effects of DMF under current workplace conditions in synthetic fibres industries. Methods: Among other laboratory parameters, liver function parameters (alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyltransferase), the mean corpuscular erythrocyte volume (MCV) and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) of the workforce of two companies present at the days of study were investigated. Internal exposure to DMF was assessed via three different biomarkers [sum of N-methylformamide and N-hydroxymethyl-N-methylformamide, N-acetyl-S-(N-carbamoyl)cysteine (AMCC) and 3-methyl-5-isopropylhydantoin (MIH)]. Alcohol consumption was assessed by means of direct ethanol metabolites (ethylglucuronide and ethylsulfate). Results: None of the tested liver enzyme activities showed a positive association with any of the three exposure markers, nor did CDT and MCV. CDT was negatively associated with AMCC and the ALP activity negatively with all three exposure markers. Changes in liver function are seen mainly in conjunction with ethanol consumption but also with increasing body weight and age. MCV was associated with smoking. Almost half of the workers stated to experience alcohol flush reaction. Conclusion: The present study indicates that long-term exposure to DMF, which was specified by median urinary AMCC levels of 4.84 mg/g creatinine and DMF haemoglobin adduct levels of 60.5 nmol/MIH/g globin, respectively, does not result in any adverse liver effects. In contrast, these DMF exposure levels still elicit certain alcohol intolerance reactions.
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Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano-TiO2) are widely used in consumer products. Nano-TiO2 dispersion could, however, interact with metals and modify their behavior and bioavailability in aquatic environments. In this study, we characterized and examined arsenate (As(V)) accumulation, distribution, and toxicity in Daphnia magna in the presence of nano-TiO2. Nano-TiO2 acts as a positive carrier, significantly facilitating D. magna’s ability to uptake As(V). As nano-TiO2 concentrations increased from 2 to 20 mg-Ti/L, total As increased by a factor of 2.3 to 9.8 compared to the uptake from the dissolved phase. This is also supported by significant correlations between arsenic (As) and titanium (Ti) signal intensities at concentrations of 2.0 mg-Ti/L nano-TiO2 (R=0.676, P<0.01) and 20.0 mg-Ti/L nano-TiO2 (R=0.776, P<0.01), as determined by LA-ICP-MS. Even though As accumulation increased with increasing nano-TiO2 concentrations in D. magna, As(V) toxicity associated with nano-TiO2 exhibited a dual effect. Compared to the control, the increased As was mainly distributed in BDM (biologically detoxified metal), but Ti was mainly distributed in MSF (metal-sensitive fractions) with increasing nano-TiO2 levels. Differences in subcellular distribution demonstrated that adsorbed As(V) carried by nano-TiO2 could dissociate itself and be transported separately, which results in increased toxicity at higher nano-TiO2 concentrations. Decreased As(V) toxicity associated with lower nano-TiO2 concentrations results from unaffected As levels in MSFs (when compared to the control), where several As components continued to be adsorbed by nano-TiO2. Therefore, more attention should be paid to the potential influence of nano-TiO2 on bioavailability and toxicity of co-contaminants.
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Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanofibres are a novel fibrous nanomaterial with increasing applications in a variety of fields. While the biological effects of TiO2 nanoparticles have been extensively studied, the toxicological characterization of TiO2 nanofibres is far from being complete. In this study, we evaluated the toxicity of commercially available anatase TiO2 nanofibres using TiO2 nanoparticles (NP) and crocidolite asbestos as non-fibrous or fibrous benchmark materials. The evaluated endpoints were cell viability, haemolysis, macrophage activation, trans-epithelial electrical resistance (an indicator of the epithelial barrier competence), ROS production and oxidative stress as well as the morphology of exposed cells. The results showed that TiO2 nanofibres caused a cell-specific, dose-dependent decrease of cell viability, with larger effects on alveolar epithelial cells than on macrophages. The observed effects were comparable to those of crocidolite, while TiO2 NP did not decrease cell viability. TiO2 nanofibres were also found endowed with a marked haemolytic activity, at levels significantly higher than those observed with TiO2 nanoparticles or crocidolite. Moreover, TiO2 nanofibres and crocidolite, but not TiO2 nanoparticles, caused a significant decrease of the trans-epithelial electrical resistance of airway cell monolayers. SEM images demonstrated that the interaction with nanofibres and crocidolite caused cell shape perturbation with the longest fibres incompletely or not phagocytosed. The expression of several pro-inflammatory markers, such as NO production and the induction of Nos2 and Ptgs2, was significantly increased by TiO2 nanofibres, as well as by TiO2 nanoparticles and crocidolite. This study indicates that TiO2 nanofibres had significant toxic effects and, for most endpoints with the exception of pro-inflammatory changes, are more bio-active than TiO2 nanoparticles, showing the relevance of shape in determining the toxicity of nanomaterials. Given that several toxic effects of TiO2 nanofibres appear comparable to those observed with crocidolite, the possibility that they exert length dependent toxicity in vivo seems worthy of further investigation.
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Synthetic fibre granuloma of the conjunctiva, sometimes known as 'teddy bear granuloma', results from granulomatous foreign body reaction of the conjunctiva to synthetic fibres. It is often an incidental finding, most commonly found in children, is unilateral, and occurs in the lower eyelid. We present here, what we believe is the first reported case of synthetic fibre conjunctival granuloma in Hong Kong, together with a review of the condition. An awareness of this clinical entity allows early and accurate diagnosis and early treatment.
Nanoparticles (NPs) have become widely used in recent years for many manufacturing and medical processes. Recent literature suggests that many metallic nanomaterials including those of silver (Ag) and titanium dioxide (TiO2) cause significant toxic effects in animal cell culture and animal models, however, toxicity studies using plant species are limited. This review examines current progress in the understanding of the effect of silver and titanium dioxide nanoparticles on plant species. There are many facets to this ongoing environmental problem. This review addresses the effects of NPs on, oxidative stress-related gene expression, genotoxicity, seed germination, and root elongation. It is largely accepted that NP exposure results in the cellular generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), leading to both positive and negative effects on plant growth. However, factors such as NP size, shape, surface coating and concentration vary greatly among studies resulting in conflicting reports of the effect at times. In addition, plant species tend to differ in their reaction to NP exposure, with some showing positive effects of NP augmentation while many others showing detrimental effects. Seed germination studies have shown to be less effective in gauging phytotoxicity, while root elongation studies have shown more promise. Given the large increase in nanomaterial applications in consumer products, agriculture and energy sectors, it is critical to understand their role in the environment and their effects on plant life. A closer look at nanomaterial-driven ecotoxicity is needed. Ecosystem-level studies are required to indicate how these nanomaterials transfer at the critical trophic levels affecting human health and biota.
The increasing use of engineered nanoparticles (NPs) in industrial and household applications will very likely lead to the release of such materials into the environment. As wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are usually the last barrier before the water is discharged into the environment, it is important to understand the effects of these materials in the biotreatment processes, since the results in the literature are usually contradictory. We proposed the use of flow cytometry (FC) technology to obtain conclusive results. Aqueous solutions of TiO2 nanoparticles (0-2 mg mL-1) were used to check its toxicity effect using Pseudomonas putida as simplified model of real sludge over room light. Physiological changes in P. putida from viable to viable but non-culturable cells were observed by flow cytometry in presence of TiO2. The damaged and dead cell concentrations were below 5% in all cases under study. Both FSC and SSC parameter increased with TiO2 dose dependent manner, indicating nanoparticles uptake by the bacteria. The biological removal of salicylic acid (SA) was also significantly impacted by the presence of TiO2 in the medium reducing the efficiency. The use of FC allows also to develop and fit segregated kinetic models, giving the impact of TiO2 nanoparticles in the physiological subpopulations growth and implications for SA removal.
In order to investigate the pulmonary toxicity of titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles, we performed an intratracheal instillation study with rats of well-dispersed TiO2 nanoparticles and examined the pulmonary inflammation and histopathological changes in the lung. Wistar Hannover rats were intratracheally administered 0.2 mg (0.66 mg/kg) and 1.0 mg (3.3 mg/kg) of well-dispersed TiO2 nanoparticles (P90; diameter of agglomerates: 25 nm), then the pulmonary inflammation responses were examined from 3 days to 6 months after the instillation, and the pathological features were examined up to 24 months. Transient inflammation and the upregulation of chemokines in the broncho-alveolar lavage fluid were observed for 1 month. No respiratory tumors or severe fibrosis were observed during the recovery time. These data suggest that transient inflammation induced by TiO2 may not lead to chronic, irreversible legions in the lung, and that TiO2 nanoparticles may not have a high potential for lung disorder.
Objectives: The aim of this study has been to investigate serum activities of liver enzymes in workers exposed to sub-TLV levels of dimethylformamide (DMF). Material and methods: Seventy-two workers and 72 healthy controls participated in the study. All subjects underwent complete physical examinations and abdominal ultrasound examination. Serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and c-glutamyl transpeptidase (c-GT) were determined by an auto-chemistry analyzer. The data of airborne concentrations of DMF was obtained from the local Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The level of urine N-acetyl-S-(N-methylcarbamoyl)cysteine (AMCC) was measured by means of high-performance liquid chromatography. Results: Time weighted average (TWA) concentration of the DMF in workplace was 18.6 (range: 9.8-36.2) mg/m<sup>3</sup>. The concentration of the AMCC in workers' urine was 28.32 (range: 1.8-58.6) mg/l and 9 workers' AMCC exceeded the biological exposure index (40 mg/l). Thirty-one workers reported gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, nausea, anorexia) and 10 workers reported headache, dizziness and/or palpitation in the exposed group. Serum analysis revealed that both the mean of serum activities of liver enzymes (ALT, AST and c-GT) and the percentage of workers with abnormal liver function were significantly higher in the exposed group as compared to the controls. Conclusions: Dimethylformamide can cause liver damage even if air concentration is in the sub-threshold limit value (sub-TLV) level. The protection of skin contact against the exposure to the DMF might be a critical issue as far as the occupational health is concerned.