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J UOEH. 2012 Sep 1;34(3):237-43.

[Possibility of exacerbation of allergy by lunar regolith].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Occupational Pneumology, Institute of Industrial Ecological Sciences, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan.

Abstract

Japan, U.S.A. and other foreign space agencies have plans for the construction of a lunar base and long-term stay of astronauts on the moon. The surface of the moon is covered by a thick layer of soil that includes fine particles called "lunar regolith", which is formed by meteorite impact and space weathering. Risk assessment of particulate matter on the moon is important for astronauts working in microgravity on the moon. However, there are few investigations about the biological influences of lunar regolith. Especially, there is no investigation about allergic activity to lunar regolith. The main chemical components of lunar regolith are SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, FeO, etc. Of particular interest, approximately 50% of lunar regolith consists of SiO2. There is a report that the astronauts felt hay fever-like symptoms from the inhalation of the lunar regolith. Yellow sand, whose chemical components are similar to lunar regolith, enhances allergenic reactions, suggesting the possibility that lunar regolith has an adjuvant-like activity. Although intraperitoneal administration of lunar regolith with ovalbumin to mouse did not show enhancement of allergenic reactions, further evaluation of lunar regolith's potential to exacerbate the effects of allergies is essential for development of the moon.

PMID:
23035343
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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