Engineered Nanoparticles and Food: Exposure, Toxicokinetics, Hazards and Risks
With the increasing use of nanomaterials in food, we need to ask whether this poses a risk to the workers manufacturing the nanomaterials and/or consumers. Society expects safe ingredients to be used, especially for applications in food. This chapter considers the use of nanomaterials in food and what information can be used to evaluate the safety aspects of engineered nanoparticles. Any risk assessment starts with a characterization of the (nano)materials to be evaluated. This is especially important for nanomaterials because a large number of variations in their physicochemical properties are possible, which can modify their functionality and behaviour. Current basic risk assessment procedures for classical chemical substances can also be applied to the safety evaluation of nanomaterials. This approach is based on exposure assessment, hazard identification (what causes the hazard or toxic effect), hazard characterization (what is the toxic effect and the dose–response relation) and risk characterization, which describes the relationship between human exposure and the dose that induces a toxic effect in experimental studies. Aspects specific to nanoparticles have to be taken into account. Recent insights into the tissue distribution of engineered nanoparticles and modelling of the exposure of internal organs are suggested as alternative approaches to the risk assessment of engineered nanoparticles.