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  • 1 Chinese Academy of Sciences Laboratory for Bio-Environmental Health Sciences of Nanoscale Materials, Institute of High Energy Physics Beijing 100049 P.R. China
  • | 2 The Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences Beijing 100049 P.R. China
  • | 3 National Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, China Beijing 100081 P.R. China
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Recently, it was reported that the toxicity of copper particles increases with the decrease of the particle size on a mass basis. To understand this phenomenon, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) techniques and in vitro chemical studies were carried out to explore how they produce toxicity in vivo. The results suggest that when the sizes of particles become small and down to a nanoscale, copper becomes extremely reactive in a simulative intracorporeal environment. The nanosized copper particles consume the hydrogen ions in stomach more quickly than micron ones. These processes further convert the copper nanoparticles into cupric ions whose toxicity is very high in vivo.