Researchers at the University of Edinburgh plan to study how nanoparticles affect the liver. The scientists propose to assess whether the nanoparticles found in pollution by traffic exhaust as well as in household goods like paint, sunblock, cosmetics, clothes and even food can damage to the cells of the liver.
Nanoparticles are molecules and atoms about 80,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair, with various properties according to their composition.
Airborne nanoparticles in traffic exhaust have already been proved to enter the lungs, which in turn cross the lung barrier entering the blood. Particles in the blood can reach the liver.
Researchers are yet unsure whether the nanoparticles eliminated from the liver by specialised cells or whether they can enter the liver cells disrupting their normal functioning.
The researchers expect to establish whether these nanoparticles that are being increasingly used in industry and household goods can damage the cells of the liver.