Up to now there are very few in vitro studies on the toxicity of nanozeolites. It seems that zeolite nanoparticles only cause negative effects in cells at extremely high concentrations.


Currently, there is little known on the effects of nanozeolites on humans. Therefore, different cell lines are used in the laboratory representing the respective uptake pathways to be examined (lung, skin, gastrointestinal tract, see section zeolites - uptake) or target organs (see article zeolites - behaviour inside the body). Only at very high concentrations, pure zeolite nanoparticles can cause toxic reactions in a variety of cell types. (lung, intestine, kidney, cervix, brain, phagocytes). Since nanozeolites tend to agglomerate in biological fluids, the observed toxic effects at high concentrations are likely to be due to side effects and not to the particles themselves [1-9].

In addition to concentration, size, surface type (with and without coating) as well as shape (round, cube-shaped) of the nanozeolites influence the toxicity of these nanoparticles. One study in lung cells showed the formation of reactive oxygen species and a change in the metabolic activity of the cells after the administration of high concentrations of zeolite nanoparticles. Damage to the genome also occurred, but was repaired in the case of the larger particles, while the effects remained permanent with the smaller particles [3,4].


The different studies show that pure zeolite nanoparticles negatively affect cell health only at very high concentrations. Due to their porous surface structure and filter function, they are currently being tested for use as scaffold material for biomedical applications. Comparative studies in animal experiments (see article zeolites - exposure in vivo) are few, which demonstrates a great need for further research.



Literature arrow down

  1. Thomassen, LC et al. (2012), Nanotoxicology, 6(5): 472-485.
  2. Petushkov, A et al. (2009), Chem Res Toxicol, 22(7): 1359-1368.
  3. Kihara, T et al. (2011), J Biosci Bioeng, 111(6): 725-730.
  4. Bhattacharya, K et al. (2012). Toxicol Lett, 215(3): 151-160.
  5. Li, Z et al. (2013). Small, 9(9-10): 1809-1820.
  6. Vilaca, N et al. (2013). Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces, 112 237-244.
  7. Laurent, S et al. (2013). Toxicology Research, 2(4): 270-279.
  8. Anfray, C et al. (2017). ACS Appl Mater Interfaces, 9(16): 13849-13854.
  9. Georgieva, V et al. (2016). Micropor Mesopor Mat 232 256-263.



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