Occupational allergy: is there a role for nanoparticles?

Di Giampaolo L1,2, Di Gioacchino M1,3, Mangifesta R1, Gatta A3, Tinari N3, Grassadonia A3, Niu Q4, Paganelli R3, Sabbioni E1, Otsuki T5, Petrarca C1.

Author information

1 Allergy and Immunotoxicology and Occupational Biorepository – Ce.S.I. – Center of Excellence on Aging, Chieti, Italy.
2 Department of Medical, Oral and Biotechnological Sciences, G. d’Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.
3 Department of Medicine and Science of Ageing, G. d’Annunzio University, Chieti, Italy.
4 Public Health School of Shanxi Medical University, Taiyuan, PR China.
5 Department of Hygiene, Kawasaki Medical School, Kurashiki, Japan.


All fields of industry are applying nanotechnologies for the development of advanced materials, there¬fore at present the number of workers exposed to nanosized materials are significantly increasing. Unfortunately, protective equipment for nanoparticles (NPs) is of uncertain efficacy so the risk of noxious effects, in particular allergic sensitization, on workers gives many concerns. At the same time, studies of allergic physiopathology demonstrated that the lack of prevention and treatment could result in invalidating dis¬eases that, in case of professional etiology, might imply removal from the job and compensation. Therefore, a deeper knowledge of the role of NPs in inducing allergic diseases is mandatory to implement the risk assessment and preventive measures for nanosafety in the workplace. The possibility that NPs favor, ex¬acerbate or directly induce allergy is being suggested by recent experimental investigations in cellular and animal models. Unfortunately, studies are heterogeneous and few data have received experimental confir¬mation, lacking reproducibility. What comes to attention is the uncertainty about the real plausibility of the observed experimental effects, as there are only a few reported cases of allergy onset or exacerbation for workers exposed to NPs. However, the potential for NPs to induce, favor or exacerbate allergies seems possible even though not completely demonstrated. This should be a greater incentive to carry out appro¬priate epidemiological studies that are lacking and really needed.


health surveillance, allergy, nanomaterials, nanoparticles, nanosafety, occupational, research, workers

Publication type

  • Editorial

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