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HONG KONG, Aug. 19, 2009 (Reuters) — Seven young Chinese women suffered permanent lung damage and two of them later died after working for months without proper protection in a paint factory using nanoparticles, Chinese researchers reported.
"These cases arouse concern that long term exposure to nanoparticles without protective measures may be related to serious damage to human lungs," wrote the researchers. "Their tiny diameter means that they can penetrate the body's natural barriers, particularly through contact with damaged skin or by inhalation or ingestion." In an article in the European Respiratory Journal, they said the seven women had worked for between five to 13 months in a factory spraying paint on polystyrene boards before they fell ill with breathing difficulties and rashes on their faces and arms. The women breathed in fumes and smoke which contained nanoparticles while working in the factory, the scientists said.