IN NEWS: Why tiny pollutants called nanoparticles are more harmful than PM 2.5 and eating into your lungs, heart and brain.

Nanoparticle pollution:
● Nanoparticles have dimensions typically ranging from 1 to 100 nanometers, making them vastly smaller.
● Nanoparticles have emerged as a silent but potent threat.
● These minuscule particles, measuring approximately 600 times smaller than the width of a human hair, possess the ability to infiltrate the body, reaching not only the lungs but even the brain.
● Due to their ultra-fine size, they can be suspended in the atmosphere for a long time and can travel longer distances, causing several health issues after exposure.

The nano invasion of the lungs
● Their small size allows them to bypass many of the body’s natural defence mechanisms, such as the filtering action of the nose and the mucus lining of the respiratory tract. Consequently, nanoparticles can penetrate deep into the lungs, posing serious health risks.
● One of the most significant concerns surrounding nanoparticles is their ability to reach the lower respiratory tract, including the alveoli – tiny air sacs where oxygen is exchanged with carbon dioxide.
● The small size of nanoparticles allows them to travel deep into the lungs, where they can trigger inflammation, oxidative stress and even cell damage.

How nanoparticles affect the brain
● In addition to their lung-related threats, nanoparticles have shown the ability to breach the blood-brain barrier, a protective barrier separating the bloodstream from the brain.

Preventive measures:
● Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) if you are exposed to nanoparticles at your workplace. This may include masks, gloves, and full-body suits designed to prevent inhalation or contact with nanoparticles.
● At home, utilising high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in air purifiers and maintaining good ventilation can help reduce indoor nanoparticle exposure.
● Avoid areas with high levels of air pollution, particularly during peak traffic hours, as much as possible to reduce inhalation risks.

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