Scientists find DNA-destroying nano dust in Vietnam

VietNamNet Bridge - Scientists have found PM1.0 fine dust and nano dust ≤ 0,1µm in the air in Vietnam. This type of dust can penetrate through all barriers of a human’s respiratory system, blocking the alveolar holes for oxygen exchange, thus affecting DNA structure.


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Scientists have long warned about fine dust in the air, but the fine dust they mentioned measured PM2.5 (2.5 µm). Meanwhile, a type of dust with even smaller size, PM1.0, and nano dust at ≤ 0,1µm was recently found. 

Nguyen Van Thuy from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) confirmed that this type of dust had recently been detected and the world was still learning about it. 

A 2016 report from the General Directorate of Environment showed that in large urban areas such as Hanoi and HCMC, PM10 and PM2.5 dust can be found 20 percent of the days in a year, exceeding the Vietnamese standard QCVN 05:2013/BTNMT.

The report pointed out that the dust concentration in urban areas is usually two to three times higher than the Vietnamese standard.

According to GreenID, in the first quarter of 2017, Hanoi had 37 days with PM2.5 dust exceeding the Vietnamese standard (50µm/m3) and 78 days with fine dust exceeding WHO’s standard (25µm/m3). The figures were six and 78 days, respectively, for HCMC.

A 2016 report from the General Directorate of Environment showed that in large urban areas such as Hanoi and HCMC, PM10 and PM2.5 dust can be found 20 percent of the days in a year, exceeding the Vietnamese standard QCVN 05:2013/BTNMT.

According to Nghiem Trung Dung, head of the Environment Science & Technology under the Hanoi University of Science & Technology, PM1.0 was detected a long time ago. PM10 and PM2.5 both contain PM1.0.

“The matter of concern now is nano dust. We have detected nano dust in Vietnam for the last few years. However, we still need further research before making conclusions,” he said.

Regarding the impact of fine dust on human health, Vu Xuan Dan, a renowned scientist, said the finer the dust, the more easily it can enter the respiratory system. It can affect the DNA structure because the oxygen imbalance damages healthy cells, thus affecting the metabolism of DNA’s organic matter. The chemicals in dust will also have a direct impact on DNA structure.

Ten years ago, scientists thought that nano dust was not a danger to people, but they have changed their view. 

“The smaller the dust is, the more pollutants it can absorb. The fine dust itself is toxic. Besides, it brings other pollutants as well,” Dung explained.

Scientists sometimes face difficulty finding and weighing a sample of dust. “We use a weighing scale with the discovery limit of 1µg. While it takes Japanese colleagues from three days to one week to collect enough dust, in Vietnam, we need only one day,” he said.


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Thanh Lich

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