Engineered nanoparticles - human health hazard and risk assessment

Information on the composition and properties of engineered nanoparticles, such
as size distribution, shape and particularly surface area, solubility, surface
charge and other surface chemical properties, is fundamental to understanding
their potential toxicological and ecotoxicological properties. Instruments for
surface area measurement, specifically aimed at the toxicology testing
community, are beginning to appear commercially, e.g. there are recently
introduced particle surface area monitors that give values for the surface area
of particles deposited in different regions of the human lung. However, at
present, there is little information on the influence of the above nanoparticle
characteristics on basic aspects of toxicology and ecotoxicology, mechanisms of
action and influence on dose-response relationships and toxicokinetic profiles.
Work is also needed to enable characterisation and measurement of nanoparticles
in different environmental and biological media, including air, water and soil
and a potential wide range of organisms and their tissues and organs.

The UK Government has published a progress report concerning the potential
risks posed by engineered nanoparticles.

This update reports on the extensive work in progress to gather evidence to
help inform decision makers on appropriate control within the development of
the products of nanotechnologies throughout their lifecycle.
5 Task Forces have been established and these will report to the Nanotechnology
Research Coordination Group on the following subjects/areas:

  • Metrology, Characterisation, Standardisation and Reference Materials;
  • Exposure - Sources, Pathways, Technologies;
  • Human Health Hazard and Risk assessment;
  • Environmental Hazard and Risk assessment;
  • Social and Economic Dimensions of Nanotechnologies

Further info

AplusA-online.de - Source: Health and Safety Executive