In recent years inorganic materials are largely present in products intended for
health care. Literature gives many examples of inorganic materials used in many healthcare
products, mainly in pharmaceutical field.
Silver, zinc oxide, titanium oxide, iron oxide, gold, mesoporous silica, hydrotalcite-like compound
and nanoclays are the most common inorganic materials used in nanosized form for
different applications in the health field. Generally, these materials are employed to realize
formulations for systemic use, often with the aim to perform a specific targeting to the pathological
site. The nanometric dimensions are often preferred to obtain the cellular internalization
when the target is localized in the intracellular space.
Some materials are frequently used in topical formulations as rheological agents, adsorbents,
mattifying agents, physical sunscreen (e.g. zinc oxide, titanium dioxide), and others.
Recent studies highlighted that the use of nanosized inorganic materials can represent a risk
for health. The very small dimension (nanometric) until a few years ago represented a fundamental
requirement; however, it is currently held responsible for the inorganic material toxicity.
This aspect is very important to be considered as actually numerous inorganic materials
can be found in many products available in the market, often dedicated to infants and children.
These materials are used without taking into account their dimensional properties with
increased risk for the user/patient.
This review deals with a deep analysis of current researches documenting the toxicity of
nanometric inorganic materials especially those largely used in products available in the market.