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May 9th, 2007
s Nanoparticle Toxicity Predictable?
Günter Oberdörster, PhD
University of Rochester
Engineered nanoparticles (NP) are increasingly used for diverse beneficial applications. Concerns about human and environmental exposures resulting in potential adverse effects have increased as well, yet the data to substantiate or refute those concerns are insufficient. Indeed, many of the same properties of nanomaterials that are exploited for useful applications—such as their large relative surface area, their propensity to enter cells and to translocate to remote target organs—may also contribute to an increased toxic potential. Examples of translocation and effects of nano-sized particles and presumed mechanisms will be highlighted. They reveal major challenges that lie ahead to answer key questions of nanotoxicology. Foremost is the development and validation of simple assays that will allow to predict the toxic potential—low or high—of NP. Such information, together with data of potential human or environmental exposure, is essential to determine as to whether NP pose a real or perceived risk.
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