How dangerous is inhaling vog?

Nano-enabled consumer products surround people every day, from personal care, cosmetics, clothing and electronics, to food and beverage. Here in Hawaii, vog is a big issue.

Experts have found there are 1,814 nano-enabled consumer products, many of which have a potential safety hazard if inhaled. However, their potential biological risks are still largely unknown. That’s according to The Nanotechnology Consumer Products Inventory maintained by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Molecular dynamics simulations revealed a pulmonary surfactant corona coated on inhaled nano particle. Courtesy: UH Manoa

Now, a University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa College of Engineering Professor is helping figure out what’s in those particles and how dangerous it might be to your lungs.

Professor Yi Zuo developed a new method to reveal the molecular mechanism of nano-bio interactions in the lungs. This research was published in the July 2017 issue of the scientific journal ACS Nano.

“Zuo’s study showed once the inhaled nanoparticles enter the lungs, they are quickly wrapped with a biomolecular corona made of the natural pulmonary surfactant… The pulmonary surfactant corona provides the inhaled nanoparticles with a new identity in their subsequent interactions with the biological system, such as their clearance and cellular toxicity,” reads the press release from UH.

“Molecular scale interactions between nanoparticles and biomolecules are too small and too fast to be visualized by most conventional experimental methods,” Zuo explains. “Hence, we studied the nano-bio interactions with a virtual experiment called molecular dynamics simulations. Using supercomputers, we created a virtual box in which a certain number of molecules and particles can move and interact with each other for a certain time by following the natural laws of physics and chemistry. The final equilibrium state of the simulation reveals the molecular mechanism of nano-bio interactions.”

In layman’s terms, what does that mean for you? That Zuo’s research will help scientists figure out just how much of a health risk it is for people to inhale fog, especially to those with existing respiratory conditions and children.

Zuo worked with Professor Guoqing Hu of the Chinese Academy of Sciences with financial support from the National Science Foundation and the Hawai‘i Community Foundation. 

 

Diane Ako

Peace of mind By Diane Ako I like to reflect on life. Sometimes it’s philosophically. Sometimes it’s humorously. For all its beauty, life is far too difficult a journey to take alone. You need the support and connection with others to help carry you along the way. Writing brings me that connection– within and without. It clarifies my thoughts and feelings. It helps me reach out to others for advice, wisdom, or feedback. Your thoughts become your actions. Your actions become you. A wise yogi- Patanjali- said, “Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant.” Let’s speak of things pleasant to one another and seek some peace of mind along the way. ABOUT Diane Ako joined Hawaii: In Real Life in October 2016. She likes being part of a community of local bloggers – people who like writing and sharing, like she does. Ako is an anchor/ reporter at Island News (KITV4 – ABC) in Honolulu. She previously anchored and reported at KHON2 (FOX) and KHNL (NBC), and at stations in California, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania, In between news jobs, in 2017, she launched and ran her own p.r. company, Diane Ako PR. From 2010-2014, she headed the public relations department at Halekulani Corporation, which oversees luxury resort Halekulani and boutique hotel Waikiki Parc. She’s been blogging since 2009 – before Hawaii: IRL, she wrote for The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the state’s largest daily newspaper, where her stories garnered a dozen journalism awards and an Emmy nomination. Ako has a BA in Communications from Menlo College and an MA in Political Science from University of Hawaii at Manoa. One day, she might figure out how to put that master’s degree to use.

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