Background: We investigated the particles released due to abrasion of wood surfaces pressure-treated with micronized copper azole (MCA) wood preservative and we gathered preliminary data on its in vitro cytotoxicity for lung cells. The data were compared with particles released after abrasion of untreated, water (0% MCA)-pressure-treated, chromated copper (CC)-pressure-treated wood, and varnished wood. Size, morphology, and composition of the released particles were analyzed. Results: Our results indicate that the abrasion of MCA-pressure-treated wood does not cause an additional release of nanoparticles from the unreacted copper (Cu) carbonate nanoparticles from of the MCA formulation. However, a small amount of released Cu was detected in the nanosized fraction of wood dust, which could penetrate the deep lungs. The acute cytotoxicity studies were performed on a human lung epithelial cell line and human macrophages derived from a monocytic cell line. These cell types are likely to encounter the released wood particles after inhalation. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that under the experimental conditions chosen, MCA does not pose a specific additional nano-risk, i.e. there is no additional release of nanoparticles and no specific nano-toxicity for lung epithelial cells and macrophages.
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