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Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) are a biobased nanomaterial
attracting increasing interest for a range of potential applications.
This article reviews the current literature on the pulmonary,
oral, dermal, and cytotoxicity of CNCs. Current
studies of the oral and dermal toxicity of CNCs have shown a
lack of adverse health effects, whereas studies of the pulmonary
and cytotoxicity have yielded discordant results. Additional
studies are needed to support the general conclusion that
CNCs are nontoxic on ingestion or contact with the skin and to
determine whether CNCs have adverse health effects on inhalation
or elicit inflammatory or oxidative stress responses at
the cellular level. This review underscores the importance of
careful sample characterization and exclusion of interfering
factors, such as the presence of endotoxins or toxic chemical
impurities, for a detailed understanding of the potential adverse
health effects of CNCs by various exposure routes.