Our Impact page (under construction in fall 2014) will be of interest to industry readers.
NanoFATE worked through the problems that have made it difficult to undertake sound environmental risk assessment of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs). Good systems exist for risk assessment (RA) of classical chemicals, but applying them to ENPs and products raises several problems. NanoFATE concentrated on two release pathways: “down the drain” disposal from diffuse use in personal care and consumer products, and diffuse release from vehicle exhaust when ENPs are used as a fuel additive. In this way we worked to identify the modifications needed to make current RA systems applicable to ENPs. We tested methods for hazard characterisation, prediction of environmental concentrations, measurement and quantification of effects and assessment and visualisation of risks. Where applicable we suggested and trialed refinement to these approaches in order to support their application for nanotechnology. See our Newsletters for a quick survey of work streams, and visit our Advice Notes for distilled findings and access to the detailed scientific papers.
Major companies and organisations are assessing the possible risks posed by nanomaterials under their control, in response to their Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) obligations. NanoFATE contributed to this overall effort by identifying best practice for RA and inputting knowledge to improve frameworks to support the safe and sustainable development of the nanotechnology sector. Our results are important for evaluating the ways in which nanotechnology products are viewed in REACH:
- NanoFATE scenario development and fate studies provided data on the concentrations of ENPs that may be found in different environmental compartments, to aid in quantification of the associated risks. This has the potential to lead to a revision of production-based thresholds with regard to production volume cut-offs for REACH assessment. See our Deliverables D6.2, D6.3 and D6.6.
- By adopting a systems toxicology approach, NanoFATE expressly considered whether nano and bulk forms of the same chemical elicit toxic effects through similar or different mechanisms. See our Advice Note n°4.
NanoFATE collated, generated and disseminated key data relating to the fate and behaviour, effects and ultimately potential risks of ENP following environmental release. NanoFATE identified and provided insights into relations between particle characteristics (e.g. core type, size, surface charge), particle behaviour in the environment, and then related toxicokinetics and toxicodynamics in exposed organisms. Such information on particle property and ENP effects on fate and toxicity will be key in supporting principles of EcoResponsible design of nanotechnology products. See our Advice Notes n°1and n°2.
NanoFATE's SMI partners AMEPOX and NANOTRADE served the project by providing custom tagged ENPs and participating in the characterisation work package. Each gained in terms of technical development of their particle production methods. They also reinforced their understanding of environmental risk issues and the value of working within the principles of responsible development. During the NanoFATE project period, our characterisation partner and provider Institute of High Pressure Physics - UNIPRESS (Polish Academy of Sciences) developed a service branch to offer doped nanopowders. Visit our Impact page (under construction in fall 2014) to learn about service offerings.