Nanoparticles: A New Form of Terrorism?

  • A. M. Gatti
  • S. Montanari
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series A: Chemistry and Biology book series (NAPSA)


Nanotechnologies offer numerous, very promising possibilities to solve old problems due to the matter properties at nanolevel. The opportunities presented are far-reaching, novel and unprecedented. But the enthusiasm for this revolution is tarnished by some concerns about the safety of nanoparticles for human and environment health. Their ability to negotiate the physiological barriers has already been demonstrated. The present study shows that unintentional, not engineered, nanopollution is already present in the environment, particularly because of the use of high-temperature combustion processes (internal-combustion engines, incinerators, high-technology weapons’ explosion, etc.) and that presence contaminates humans, animals and environment. The paper takes into considerations public worldwide-known events where unintentional important release of nanoparticles occurred and discusses the effects that they induced in humans and animals. Biological samples affected by lymphoma, leukemia, and cancer of soft tissues of soldiers who served during the Gulf War and Balkan War and of people exposed to the 9/11 pollution are considered and specific analyses have been carried out in those pathological samples by means of Field Emission Gun Environmental Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with an Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy. These pieces of evidence induce to consider the role of nanoparticles and their impact on the human health with attention, also for their possible terroristic use.


Nanoparticles Nanopathology Nanotoxicit Ecoterrorism 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Biomaterials, Department of Specialist SurgeriesUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.Nanodiagnostics srlSan Vito ModenaItaly

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