EU scientists explore behaviour of nanoparticles in cells


Assessment of metal and metal oxide nanoparticles

EU researchers have overcome a major challenge in assessing the toxicity of nanoparticles to humans by identifying individual nanoparticles in cells. Metal and metal oxide nanoparticles – used in some sunscreens – are being assessed by the EU’s Hinamox project.

The research consortium – led by the Asociacion Centro de Investigacion Cooperativa en Biomateriales, in San Sebastian, Spain – has used ion beam microscopy (IBM) and electron microscopy to observe specific nanoparticles. This has been a major challenge in assessing nanotechnology toxicity - a European Commission note explained - because the amount of nanomaterial in affected cells had been unknown, “calculating the relationship between dose and effect has not [been] straightforward”.

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