EMERGNANO: A review of completed and near completed environment, health and safety research on nanomaterials and nanotechnology

Publication Date : 2009
Code : 89
77 Visited Entry Date : 2017/10/02

UNITED KINGDOM

English
Volume 198 Pages
Document type Report
Subject General Issues
Summary

The Nanotechnology Research Coordination Group (NRCG), in its first research progress report, set out a programme of 19 Research Objectives (ROs), across five main scientific areas, to characterise the potential risks. The five areas were:

- Metrology, Characterisation, standardisation and reference materials;

- Exposures – Sources, pathways and technologies;

- Human health hazard and risk assessment;

- Environmental hazard and risk assessment;

- Social and economic dimensions of nanotechnologies.

The NRCG set up five Task Forces, one for each area, to take forward the 19 objectives outlined in its first research progress report.

In this project we have carried out a detailed review and analysis of research carried out worldwide on Environment, Health and Safety aspects of engineered nanoparticles (NP) including issues relating to hazard, exposure and risk assessment and regulation, and made an assessment of how far 18 of the ROs have been met and which gaps still remain to be filled (RO01, Nanotechnologies and public engagement, was specifically excluded from the contract). As far as practicable, we have carried out an appraisal of the research results with a view to highlighting any new information that may trigger a consideration for the need for regulation of nanomaterials, assessed the possibility of a qualitative risk assessment and considered whether there is sufficient information to invoke the precautionary principle for one or more nanomaterials. Finally, we have made recommendations for new research to fill gaps.

The EMERGNANO project has been a unique attempt to identify and assess worldwide progress in relation to nanotechnology risk issues. On an international basis we have identified and assessed more than 260 unique, relevant projects completed, close to completion or in progress. We have mapped these projects against the eighteen ROs set in the UK by the NRCG/DEFRA. However, we consider that what has been achieved has been successful in identifying the overwhelming majority of important studies and having these studies assessed as to their output and relevance by some of the leading researchers currently working in this area. We have, as part of the project, achieved a comprehensive listing of projects and produced detailed comments and assessment of their outputs. It is our view that EMERGNANO represents the best available picture currently available of current strategic research. As such, EMERGNANO presents an excellent basis for assessing progress of these and other studies in the future. Generally, this project aims to carry out an evaluation of research work completed to date and to re-assess future research objectives and priorities in nanomaterial health and safety.

Content

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY III

 

1 INTRODUCTION

   1.1 Background

   1.2 Objectives

   1.3 Strategic approach

   1.4 Project team

   1.5 Report outline

 

2 METHODOLOGY

   2.1 Identification, selection and compilation of information on studies

   2.2 Data management

   2.3 Preliminary assessment to map each study to the 18 research objectives

   2.4 Weight-of-Evidence appraisal

   2.5 Risk assessment appraisal

   2.6 Presentation of the evidence at a workshop

 

3 QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT

   3.1 Overview of studies considered

   3.2 Weight-of-Evidence score distributions

   3.3 Study funding

   3.4 Geographic distribution of studies assessed

 

4 ASSESSMENT OF THE RESEARCH OBJECTIVES

   4.1 Introduction

   4.2 RO02 - Metrics and associated methods for the measurement and characterisation of nanoparticles

   4.3 RO03 - Reference nanoparticles

   4.4 RO04 - Ignition and explosive properties

   4.5 RO05 - Sources of nanoparticles

   4.6 RO06 - Exposure measurement (air)

   4.7 RO07 - Fate and behaviour (air)

   4.8 RO08 - Exposure control devices

   4.9 RO09 - Exposure measurement (soil and water)

   4.10 RO10 - Fate and behaviour (soil and water)

   4.11 RO11 - Toxicokinetics

   4.12 RO12 - Translocation and cellular toxicity

   4.13 RO13 - Toxicity mechanisms (oxidative stress, inflammation and genotoxicity)

   4.14 RO14 - Deposition, distribution, toxicity, pathogenicity and translocation potential and pathways for nanoparticles in the airways and lung and their potential impacts on the cardiovascular system and brain

   4.15 RO15 - Toxicity (skin)

   4.16 RO16 - Testing strategies

   4.17 RO17 - Uptake, toxicity and effects of nanoparticles on groundwater and soil microorganisms, animals and plants, especially in the context of remediation

   4.18 RO18 - Mechanisms of toxicity, toxicokinetics and in vivo effects of nanoparticles to key ecological groups

   4.19 RO19 - Define endpoints to be measured in ecotoxicological studies and assess how fit for purpose current standard tests for persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity are when considering nanoparticles

 

5 PROGRESS AND GAPS

   5.1 Introduction

   5.2 Metrology, characterisation, standardisation and reference materials

   5.3 Exposures – Sources, pathways, and technologies

   5.4 Human health hazard and risk assessment

   5.5 Environmental hazard and risk assessment

 

6 ACTIVITIES EXTERNAL TO THE SCOPE OF THE RESEARCH

OBJECTIVES

   6.1 Enabling activities

   6.2 Life cycle analysis

   6.3 Effectiveness of risk assessment approaches

   6.4 Issues not currently being investigated

 

7 RISK ASSESSMENT

   7.1 Precautionary principle

   7.2 Consideration of research outputs

   7.3 Assessment of use, exposure and toxicity

   7.4 Consideration of the application of the precautionary principle

   7.5 Summary

 

8 DISCUSSION

   8.1 Limitations of the study

   8.2 Quantitative outputs

   8.3 Research objectives - progress and gaps

   8.4 Studies and issues which are external to the Research objectives

   8.5 Risk assessment and the precautionary principle

   8.6 Lessons for future

 

9 CONCLUSIONS

 

10 REFERENCES

   10.1 Published literature and reports

   10.2 Selected web links

 

APPENDIX 1 - LIST OF STUDIES

 

APPENDIX 2 - WEIGHT-OF-EVIDENCE FRAMEWORKS

 

APPENDIX 3 - WEIGHT-OF-EVIDENCE SCORE DISTRIBUTIONS

 

APPENDIX 4 - FINANCIAL INFORMATION FOR STUDIES
Organization
  • UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Published by
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