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The Significance Of Nanoparticles In Particle- Induced Pulmonary Fibrosis

James Byrne, John A Baugh

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Exposure to airborne nanoparticles contributes to many chronic pulmonary diseases. Nanoparticles, classified as anthropogenic and natural particles, and fibers of diameters less than 100 nm, have unrestricted access to most areas of the lung due to their size. Size relates to the deposition efficiency of the particle, with particles in the nano-range having the highest efficiencies. The deposition of nanoparticles in the lung can lead to chronic inflammation, epithelial injury, and further to pulmonary fibrosis. Cases of particle-induced pulmonary fibrosis, namely pneumoconiosis, are mostly occupationally influenced, and continue to be documented around the world. The tremendous growth of nanotechnology, however, has spurred fears of increased rates of pulmonary diseases, especially fibrosis. The severity of toxicological consequences warrants further examination of the effects of nanoparticles in humans, possible treatments and increased regulatory measures.