Can graphene be dangerous?

Graphene is made up of a layer of carbon the thickness of one atom. It is characterized by being flexible, ultra-thin, self-regenerating, extremely resistant and capable of conducting electric currents, among many other qualities that have made it known as the “material that goes for everything”.

Qualified as the “miracle material”, there are currently studies that warn about the danger of handling graphene, since it is considered an unstable material that may be capable of both damaging human health and damaging the environment due to the possible hypothetical risks of contamination that can lead to.

Potential dangers

Only about 10 years ago that laboratories have managed to isolate graphene and since then the industry has tried to get the material to transform to bring out its full potential and apply graphene to commercial uses and applications. The main drawback is that it is quite an expensive process. Graphene has many advantages, but it can also cause side effects, even being toxic.

Sharon Walker , an environmental engineer at the University of California, studied the behavior of graphene oxide in water. The researchers were able to observe that in a solution with the same characteristics as groundwater, the graphene clumped together and sank without causing any type of risk. However, in solutions with the same characteristics as surface water, such as lakes or drinking water reservoirs, graphene did not lump or sink, but stayed afloat by adhering to organic matter.generated by the decomposition of plants and animals. The toxicity of graphene has been demonstrated in previous studies with human and mouse lung cells. If it is shown that it is toxic, its mobility capacity in surface water would become a serious problem.

Negative effects on humans

It is known to all that some metals that mobile phones contain can be recyclable and one of the objectives that some companies want to achieve is to exploit the flexibility capacity of graphene so that our future smartphone is totally flexible. But, and if graphene is harmful to health, is it a good idea for mobile phones to contain it?

The Brown University has thoroughly examined the possible toxicity in human cells graphene ascertaining that the serrations of the material can easily pierce cell membranes of the skin. Robert Hury states that these materials can be inhaled voluntarily as well as involuntarily so it is possible that graphene interacts with our cells once it is inside the human body. At the moment they are investigations that shed enough light on the possible dangers that graphene can have both in humans and the impact it can have on the environment.

by Abdullah Sam
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