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01.06.2015 | Research Paper | Ausgabe 6/2015 Open Access

Journal of Nanoparticle Research 6/2015

Integrated probabilistic risk assessment for nanoparticles: the case of nanosilica in food

Journal of Nanoparticle Research > Ausgabe 6/2015
Rianne Jacobs, Hilko van der Voet, Cajo J. F. ter Braak
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11051-015-2911-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Insight into risks of nanotechnology and the use of nanoparticles is an essential condition for the social acceptance and safe use of nanotechnology. One of the problems with which the risk assessment of nanoparticles is faced is the lack of data, resulting in uncertainty in the risk assessment. We attempt to quantify some of this uncertainty by expanding a previous deterministic study on nanosilica (5–200 nm) in food into a fully integrated probabilistic risk assessment. We use the integrated probabilistic risk assessment method in which statistical distributions and bootstrap methods are used to quantify uncertainty and variability in the risk assessment. Due to the large amount of uncertainty present, this probabilistic method, which separates variability from uncertainty, contributed to a better understandable risk assessment. We found that quantifying the uncertainties did not increase the perceived risk relative to the outcome of the deterministic study. We pinpointed particular aspects of the hazard characterization that contributed most to the total uncertainty in the risk assessment, suggesting that further research would benefit most from obtaining more reliable data on those aspects.
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