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Environ Pollut. 2009 Apr;157(4):1127-33. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2008.10.002. Epub 2008 Nov 14.

Chemical stability of metallic nanoparticles: a parameter controlling their potential cellular toxicity in vitro.

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  • 1Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


The level of production of nanoparticles will inevitably lead to their appearance in air, water, soils, and organisms. A theoretical framework that relates properties of nanoparticles to their biological effects is needed to identify possible risks to human health and the environment. This paper considers the properties of dispersed metallic nanoparticles and highlights the relationship between the chemical stability of these nanoparticles and their in vitro toxicity. Analysis of published data suggests that chemically stable metallic nanoparticles have no significant cellular toxicity, whereas nanoparticles able to be oxidized, reduced or dissolved are cytotoxic and even genotoxic for cellular organisms.

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