Industrial dust

Potential toxicity of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO)

Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is a sintered mixture of indium (In2O3) and tin-oxide (SnO2) that, in virtue of its particular electronical properties, is used for manufacturing LCD screens and related high technology applications. Interstitial pulmonary diseases have recently been reported in workers exposed (Homma et al., 2003, 2005; Chonan et al., 2007). We highlighted that ITO particles represent a new toxicological entity which has the potential to generate high amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in analogy with other toxic particulates. By means of the cell free tests set up by the Centre, we can predict the potential toxicity of various industrial ITO samples in order to research materials less toxic than those used at the present for industrial applications.

Our bibliography on the subject:

Lison et al., 2009 (doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfp014)


Potential toxicity of hard metals

Hard metals are industrial materials produced by sintering cobalt (Co, 80%). Thanks to their unique features (hardness and resistance to wear), hard metals have many industrial applications. Workers exposed can develop a form of interstitial fibrosis known as “hard metal lung disease”. In 2006 IARC classified cobalt metal as possibly carcinogenic (group 2B) and hard metals as probably carcinogenic (group 2A) to humans. At the basis of hard metals toxicity a specific reaction at the surface of Co and WC particles was hypothesized. The reaction involves particle driven generation of a large amount of reactive oxygen species (ROS) responsible for the oxidative damage towards cells. At the light of their acknowledged lung toxicity, the research of hard metals less toxic than those nowdays produced is an important target to  achieve.  The cell free tests set up by our Centre, combined with bio-chemical cellular tests, may be extremely helpful in predicting the potential toxicity of new industrial hard metals in which the Co is partially or completely substituted by alternative metal matrixes in order to find less toxic hard metals.

Our bibliography on the subject:

Lison et al., 1995 (doi: 10.1021/tx00046a015)
Zanetti & Fubini, 1997. (doi: 10.1039/a700846e)
Fubini, 1997 (doi: 10.2307/3433502)
Francia et al., 2007 (doi:10.1016/j.electacta.2007.06.018)
Fenoglio et al., 2008 (doi: 10.1080/10715760802350904)