New guide­lines to stan­dard­ise tox­i­c­ity test­ing of nano­ma­te­ri­als

Chemical Industry Digest - - News & Views -


Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Eco­nomic Co-op­er­a­tion and De­vel­op­ment (OECD) has pub­lished meth­ods that are specif­i­cally de­signed to as­sess the tox­i­c­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of nanopar­ti­cles.

Three new test guide­lines have been pro­duced by the OECD’s work­ing party on man­u­fac­tured nano­ma­te­ri­als, which was formed in 2006. Two de­scribe in­hala­tion tox­i­c­ity stud­ies that can be done on ro­dents over 28 days or 90 days, and the other de­tails ways to mea­sure the dis­per­sal of nanopar­ti­cles in the en­vi­ron­ment.

David Car­lan­der, Di­rec­tor of Reg­u­la­tory Af­fairs at the Nan­otech­nolo­gies In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion, says the guide­lines are ‘very valu­able’ and will be wel­comed by in­dus­try. ‘All these guide­lines fall un­der a mu­tual ac­cep­tance of data agree­ment among mem­ber states [of the OECD], so if you have done the test in one of those states you can use that data in var­i­ous ju­ris­dic­tions through­out the world.’ He ex­plained that both the in­hala­tion tox­i­c­ity guide­lines are essen­tially mi­nor up­dates to tests that are al­ready used on other sub­stances.

In the past there have been calls for nano­ma­te­ri­als to be gov­erned by sep­a­rate reg­u­la­tions, but although some coun­tries have set up na­tional reg­is­ters or re­port­ing schemes, they are treated sim­i­larly to non-nanoscale ma­te­ri­als in most coun­tries. In Europe, for ex­am­ple, they are cur­rently cov­ered by the regis­tra­tion, eval­u­a­tion, au­tho­ri­sa­tion and re­stric­tion of chem­i­cals (Reach) reg­u­la­tion.

Whether or not there is a strong ap­petite for more spe­cific reg­u­la­tions around nanopar­ti­cles, the key to en­sur­ing their safe and re­spon­si­ble use is to op­ti­mise the meth­ods by which they are tested.

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