Donnerstag, 14. September 2017, 16:00 - 17:30 iCal

Prof. Harald F. Krug /

Manager for the International Research Cooperation of Empa-Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Schweiz


"The Uncertainty with Nanosafety: Validity and Reliability of published Data"

Joseph Loschmidt Hörsaal der Fakultät für Chemie
Währinger Straße 42, 1090 Wien


The Uncertainty with Nanosafety: Validity and Reliability of published Data


During the last decade several literature surveys on “Nanotoxicology” have shown that most of the published data on toxicological effects of

nanoparticles or nanomaterials is not useful for risk analysis or risk assessment of these materials (1, 2). Although the evaluated publications use buzz words such as “toxicological effects”, “risk assessment”, “toxicity” or “genotoxicity” most of them do not respect the rules of toxicological studies. As the term “nano” in the title was nearly a guarantee for project proposals to get money within the last two decades, no one claimed for the

adequate quality control which should be applied for toxicological studies.

Most of the published studies contain severe weaknesses such as missing controls, no well characterized materials or they show high-dose-

experiments only to observe an effect which is publishable (3). Altogether this ends up in the situation that we cannot use all published data without its critical evaluation (4).

The evaluation of nearly 6000 publications is in some respect disappointing. If one looks carefully into the details of the published studies it becomes

more and more apparent that many of these publications contain shortcomings as mentioned above and often the conclusions drawn from these studies are misleading (1). Hence, it would be a great mistake if regulation would be built upon such studies. Obviously, the above described

limitations offer difficulties in issuing clear statements on “Safety Aspects of Nanomaterials”.

International standards and harmonization of test protocols are urgently needed and should be used in all future projects and experiments.

Nanotoxicology or better nanosafety research may be pushed back on track if the researchers will respect measurement uncertainty and other important rules for biological studies in total and specifically for

toxicological studies (5,6).



1. H. F. Krug, Angew Chem Int Ed 53, 12304 (2014)

2. D. R. Hristozov, S. Gottardo, A. Critto, and A. Marcomini, Nanotoxicology

6, 880 (2012)

3. D. B. Warheit and E. M. Donner, Sci Technol Adv Mater 16, 034603 (2015)

4. H. F. Krug and P. Wick, Angew Chem Int Ed 50, 1260 (2011)

5. M. Rösslein et al., Chem Res Toxicol 28, 21 (2015)

6. J.T. Elliott et al., ALTEX 34, 20121 (2017).



Fakultät für Chemie, Institut für Lebensmittelchemie und Toxikologie


Brigitte Schwarz
Fakultät für Chemie der Universität Wien