Rethinking nano-TiO2 safety: Overview of toxic effects in humans and aquatic animals.


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ABSTRACT - Titanium dioxide nanoparticles (nano‐TiO2) are widely used in consumer products, raising environmental and health concerns. An overview of the toxic effects of nano‐TiO2 on human and environmental health is provided. A meta‐analysis is conducted to analyze the toxicity of nano‐TiO2 to the liver, circulatory system, and DNA in humans. To assess the environmental impacts of nano‐TiO2, aquatic environments that receive high nano‐TiO2 inputs are focused on, and the toxicity of nano‐TiO2 to aquatic organisms is discussed with regard to the present and predicted environmental concentrations. Genotoxicity, damage to membranes, inflammation and oxidative stress emerge as the main mechanisms of nano‐TiO2 toxicity. Furthermore, nano‐TiO2 can bind with free radicals and signal molecules, and interfere with the biochemical reactions on plasmalemma. At the higher organizational level, nano‐TiO2 toxicity is manifested as the negative effects on fitness‐related organismal traits including feeding, reproduction and immunity in aquatic organisms. Bibliometric analysis reveals two major research hot spots including the molecular mechanisms of toxicity of nano‐TiO2 and the combined effects of nano‐TiO2 and other environmental factors such as light and pH. The possible measures to reduce the harmful effects of nano‐TiO2 on humans and non‐target organisms has emerged as an underexplored topic requiring further investigation.

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