Scientists discover health risks in computing material

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Potential health risks have been uncovered in the production of a revolutionary material used in computer technology.

Researchers at Edinburgh University discovered that “nano discs” could pose a threat to production line staff.

They are found in the ultra-thin layers of a carbon called graphene, which is heralded for its superconductive properties.

The material’s disc-shaped particles, called nanoplatelets, behave “like tiny frisbees” and stay airborne. Because they are so aerodynamic, if the tiny particles are inhaled, they can find their way deeper into the lungs than other forms of graphene, and it is thought they could accumulate there and cause damage.

Professor Ken Donaldson, chair of respiratory toxicology, said: “We need to further assess the potential hazards posed by nanoplatelets made of graphene and other materials, so that appropriate health and safety measures can be put in place.”