A recent study has evaluated frameworks and tools used in Europe to assess the potential health and environmental risks of manufactured nanomaterials. The study identifies a trend towards tools that provide protocols for conducting experiments, which enable more flexible and efficient hazard testing. Among its conclusions, however, it notes that no existing frameworks meet all the study's evaluation criteria and calls for a new, more comprehensive framework.
The study "Frameworks and tools for risk assessment of manufactured nanomaterials", conducted under the EU-funded MARINA project, reviewed existing frameworks and tools for risk assessing manufactured nanomaterials. The researchers define a framework as a 'conceptual paradigm' of how a risk assessment should be conducted and understood, and gave the REACH chemical safety assessment as an example. Tools are defined as implements used to carry out a specific task or function, such as experimental protocols, computer models or databases.
In all, 12 frameworks and 48 tools were evaluated. These were identified from other studies and projects. The frameworks were assessed against eight criteria which represent different strengths, such as whether they consider properties specific to nanomaterials, whether they consider the entire life cycle of a nanomaterial and whether they include careful planning and prioritise objectives before the risk assessment is conducted...
Hristozov, D., S. Gottardo, E. Semenzin, A. Oomen, P. Bos, W. Peijnenburg, M. van Tongeren, B. Nowack, N. Hunt, A. Brunelli, J. J. Scott-Fordsmand, L. Tran, A. Marcomini (2016). "Frameworks and tools for risk assessment of manufactured nanomaterials." Environ Int 95: 36-53. DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2016.07.016.