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Jun17-08, 04:44 PM
Sci Advisor
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This is only an issue in factories where FREE nanotubes are fabricated in large quantities(which, as far as I know, means ONE quite small factory in Japan).
In most real-world application of nanotubes the tubes will probably be grown in-situ on the chip and they will be permanently sitting there, integrated in a circuit.
It is only when studying one or maybe a few nanotubes that it is feasible to use free nanotubes dispersed in a solution as a starting point (since you can't really control where they end up on the chip), i.e. while this is still a common method in research it is not likely to be used in commercial applications.

So yes, it might be an issue in "bulk" applications of nanotubes ("ropes" etc) but in electronic applications this is simply not an issue.

I share a lab with colleagues that work with nanotubes (mainly measurements of electronic/thermal properties) but for us H&S it is simply not an issue in this case; it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to inhale a sample(!) and even if that happened a few nanotubes would obviously not make any difference whatsoever.

Note that nanotubes are actually present in the exhaust fumes from diesel engines, meaning most of us have probably already inhaled quite a few tubes in our lifetimes.