On November 30, 2017, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will hold a webinar to explain the support documentation available for registrants that cover nanoforms in their Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) registration dossier. ECHA states that the main focus will be on the registration and read-across of nanoforms, but the webinar will also cover updates for information requirements for human health and the environment. According to the agenda, time will be reserved at the end to answer questions.
In October 2017, the presentations and report for the June 20, 2017, Second European Conference on “Standardization for Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials: Reliable data for an effective management of nanomaterials” were posted. The European Committee for Standardization (CEN)/Technical Committee (TC) 352 “Nanotechnologies,” together with the CEN-European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC) Management Center, the European Commission (EC), and the European Free Trade Association, organized the Conference as part of its coordinating role in the implementation of Mandate M/461, “Standardization activities on nanotechnology and nanomaterials.” Round tables were held on nanosafety; nanoparticle aerosol measurements; quality/relevance of data in nanomaterial databases and registries; identification of nanomaterials; nanomaterial exposure and risk assessment; and the impact of research projects on standardization. According to the Conference report, an additional conference within the M/461 framework will be held by the end of 2018.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) Nanoscale Science and Engineering (NSE) grantees conference on progress in nanotechnology will be held December 12-13, 2017. The conference will highlight the research and education activities of ongoing NSE grant projects. It will include a combination of keynotes, panels, posters, program information sessions, discussions of research trends, and principal investigator meetings with NSF program directors. The conference will address the following themes:
- Day 1: Progress in foundational nanotechnology and infrastructure — Nanoscale modeling and simulation and use of big data, nanotechnology based-devices and systems by design, two-dimensional materials and quantum phenomena in nanoscale systems, nano-research centers, and the National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI) and nanoHUB; and
- Day 2: Progress in grand challenges and convergence — Advanced nanomanufacturing (convergence with bio, cyber, cogno, and artificial intelligence), brain-like cognitive engineering systems, education challenges, and societal aspects.
On September 26-27, 2017, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) held an Expert Dialogue regarding the opportunities and risks of the application of nanotechnologies in the automotive sector. The Expert Dialogue provided an overview of current and future applications of nanomaterials in automobiles. A number of the presentations are available online, in German. Since 2006, the NanoDialogue has been conducted as part of the German government’s Nano Action Plan, and BMUB has the lead responsibility for it. The goal is to support an exchange of ideas among stakeholders on the opportunities and risks of nanotechnologies to help promote the responsible and sustainable use of nanomaterials. Information on the Expert Dialogue on the opportunities and risks of the application of nanotechnologies in the construction sector is available in our June 26, 2017, blog item.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) will have six sessions at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Europe, which will be held May 13-17, 2018, in Rome, Italy. ECHA’s sessions will include one on recent developments in regulatory science and environmental risk assessment of nanomaterials. To support the session, ECHA welcomes abstracts on experience gained in environmental hazard and risk assessment of nanomaterials illustrated by case studies. Presentations may also cover the implementation of existing (or new) test methods, grouping and read-across approaches specific to nanomaterials, discussion on the further need for guidance and standard methods in relation to the regulatory needs, and available or innovative communication tools. The session will focus on how to produce adequate and reliable information suitable for regulatory purposes and on innovative approaches to communicate the risks and benefits of nanomaterials beyond the scientific community. Abstracts are due November 29, 2017.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development published a November 7, 2017, report entitled Consumer and Environmental Exposure to Manufactured Nanomaterials — Information used to characterize exposures: Analysis of a Survey. The report provides a “light analysis” of the results of a Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) survey on consumer and environmental exposures to manufactured nanomaterials. The survey, initiated in 2015, was designed to collect information used to characterize consumer and environmental exposures for human and ecological risk assessment. WPMN intended the survey to be used as a tool to inform potential avenues for future research and collaboration in the area of exposure assessment as it relates to manufactured nanomaterials. The survey collected data on the importance and availability of information and data in six broad categories: (1) material characterization; (2) production, use, and market; (3) releases to the environment (direct, indirect, and via consumer use); (4) environmental fate and transport; (5) exposure assessment (direct and indirect); and (6) exposure control and mitigation. The report presents an analysis of the survey data within each of these categories and highlights the importance of multiple types of information, ranging from material characterization to environmental release and exposure analysis. The report also contains a more detailed analysis of the issues in each of the six categories, with respect to perceived importance, data availability, and framework. The report recommends potential avenues for future work by the OECD; these are grouped into the following three themes, based on linkages identified by the survey:
- Theme 1 includes projects related to the development and use of exposure models for manufactured nanomaterials. This includes information on production/import quantities, exposure pathways, and exposure measurement in the environment, for consumers and of emissions from consumer articles and products;
- Theme 2 includes projects on issues related to environmental behavior and transformation, and includes information on nanomaterials released from the use of articles and products to the environment; and
- Theme 3 includes projects related to the material characterization of manufactured nanomaterials and includes data on the physical form of nanomaterials in products.
According to the report, recommended next steps include obtaining feedback on the direction proposed for future OECD projects and identifying specific projects that can be undertaken by WPMN. Follow up on selected survey responses is also recommended to determine the feasibility and applicability of data for future activities
On October 12, 2017, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) published questions and answers (Q&A) regarding a study on whether nanometric pigments from tattoo inks can permanently accumulate in lymph nodes. BfR states that by using X-rays from a particle accelerator in Grenoble, it discovered where the pigments accumulate in the tissue. According to BfR, until now, the accumulation of pigments from tattooed persons has been known by optical coloring of the lymph nodes only, as they often had been of the same color as the tattoo. Both skin and lymph nodes have now been characterized in terms of their chemical composition, pigment identity, and size. The study, “Synchrotron-based ν-XRF mapping and μ-FTIR microscopy enable to look into the fate and effects of tattoo pigments in human skin,” was published in September 2017.
On October 5, 2017, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) published a POSTnote entitled “Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials.” According to POST, key points include:
- Nanomaterial uses and benefits are diverse and increasing, such as in cosmetics, textiles, electronics, and medicine;
- Current regulatory frameworks applicable to nanomaterials within the UK are mainly set at the European Union (EU) level;
- There are some indications of potential health and environmental risks, but conclusions are limited by insufficient long-term evidence and difficulties in translating results from the laboratory to the real world;
- Post-Brexit, the UK will need to establish regulatory frameworks for nanomaterials; and
- The wide range of forms and uses of nanomaterials present many regulatory challenges, such as ensuring consistency in testing and finding valid ways of grouping nanomaterials so that their risks may be assessed more efficiently.
In October 2017, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published standard ISO/TR 19057:2017, “Nanotechnologies — Use and application of acellular in vitro tests and methodologies to assess nanomaterial biodurability.” The standard reviews the use and application of acellular in vitro tests and methodologies implemented in the assessment of the biodurability of nanomaterials and their ligands in simulated biological and environmental media. It is intended to focus more on acellular in vitro methodologies implemented to assess biodurability and, therefore, excludes the general review of relevant literature on in vitro cellular or animal biodurability tests.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has posted an October 30, 2017, report entitled Strategies, Techniques and Sampling Protocols for Determining the Concentrations of Manufactured Nanomaterials in Air at the Workplace. The objective of the report is to contribute to existing knowledge regarding methods for measuring characteristics of airborne nanoparticles and controlling occupational exposure to airborne nanoparticles, and to gather data on nanoparticle emission and transport in various workplaces. The report includes the findings of research undertaken in non-industrial nanotechnology workplaces involving the measurement of nanomaterials emissions and exposures. It presents six case studies that demonstrate how measurement and assessment of nanomaterials can be undertaken and how results can be interpreted: grinding and extrusion of modified titanium dioxide; manufacture of clay-polyurethane nanocomposite material; grinding of titanium dioxide powder; jet milling of modified clay particles; decanting of single- and multi-walled carbon nanotubes; and synthesis of carbon nanotubes using chemical vapor deposition. The report notes that “it is worth mentioning that this document contributed to the development of the document ‘Harmonized Tiered Approach to Measure and Assess the Potential Exposure to Airborne Emissions of Engineered Nano-Objects and their Agglomerates and Aggregates at Workplaces’ published as No.55 in the OECD Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials [ENV/JM/MONO(2015)19].”