Nanosized copper particles are widely used in fields of lubricants, polymers/plastic, metallic coating and ink. Recently,
we found that copper particles in different sizes can lead to different toxicological effects. To clarify the target organs
of copper particles of different sizes, the inductively coupled plasma mass spectroscopy (ICP-MS) was employed to evaluate
the distribution of copper in different organs of mice after a single dose oral exposure. The results suggest that the main
target organs for copper nanoparticles are kidney, liver and blood. Liver is the main damaged organ.
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.