An international research group, made up of scientists from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), discovered that lipids created by the skin can produce nanoparticles by encountering ozone.
Scientists have demonstrated through experiments that the human body generates nano clusters. They are mesoscopic particles with a size that can vary from a few atoms to a few hundred atoms.
So far, it has been established that nanoparticles can come from burning candles, cooking food and the like. But today we know that they can also result from the natural habits of man, such as breathing, sneezing, etc.
Exposed to sources of pollution such as exhaust gas, or even to strong emission of solar rays, ozone generates nanoparticles called “Nanocluster aerosols”.
In order to study these particles in depth, experiments were carried out in a 22.5 m chamber3 with some human who have voluntarily agreed to take the tests. The chamber was made of stainless steel, designed so that researchers could controlling factors like humidity, temperature, ozone levels, etc. This made it possible to appreciate their influences on the nano clusters produced by human beings.
Also taking into account the age and attire of the participants, the researchers noted that adolescents generated more aerosols from nanoclusters than adults and the elderly.
Potential health dangers?
At the moment, scientists are onlymake assumptions as to the question of the impact of aerosols from nanoclusters on health. The study which showed that these aerosols are produced by the skin in environments where ozone is found has still not revealed any specific harmful effects on health. Yet researchers believe that these particles that can be breathed in could be dangerous for the lungs and the brain. To this end, they encouraged their peers to carry out in-depth studies on the subject.
“It would also be interesting to see if the fingerprints we leave behind when touching objects contribute to these emissions. Or if personal care routines or even personal care products play a role. In the meantime, the best thing we can do is reduce the ozone levels in our buildings. “