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Touch screen graphene 'poses risk'

Friday February 24th 2012

Researchers have called for further research into nanoplatelets made from thin layers of carbon graphene, a material used in computer technology which it is feared could pose health risks to people involved in its manufacture.

The University of Edinburgh study, led by Professor Ken Donaldson, was published in the journal ACS Nano.

Nanoplatelets are used to enhance the electronic properties of touch screens. The disc-shaped particles can be readily incorporated into plastic and rubber due to their flexibility. The team found the particles - less than one carbon atom thick and invisible to the naked eye - could be harmful when they enter the lungs.

Their aerodynamic properties mean that when inhaled, they can find their way deeper into the lungs than other forms of graphene and they could accumulate in the lungs and cause damage.

Professor Donaldson said further research into the potential hazards posed by graphene-based nanoplatelets is required "so that appropriate health and safety measures can be put in place for those involved in their manufacture".

Copyright Press Association 2012

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