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Nanotoxicology. 2011 Sep;5(3):393-405. doi: 10.3109/17435390.2010.519836. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Presence and risks of nanosilica in food products.

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RIVM (National Institute for Public Health and the Environment) , Bilthoven.


This study uniquely describes all steps of the risk assessment process for the use of one specific nanomaterial (nanosilica) in food products. The aim was to identify gaps in essential knowledge and the difficulties and uncertainties associated with each of these steps. Several food products with added silica (E551) were analyzed for the presence, particle size and concentration of nanosilica particles, using experimental analytical data, and the intake of nanosilica via food was estimated. As no information is available on the absorption of nanosilica from the gastrointestinal tract, two scenarios for risk assessment were considered. The first scenario assumes that the silica is absorbed as dissolved silica, while the second scenario assumes that nanosilica particles themselves are absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. For the first scenario no adverse effects are expected to occur. For the second scenario there are too many uncertainties to allow proper risk assessment. Therefore, it is recommended to prioritize research on how nanosilica is absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

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