Experts to convene in Malaga to discuss the safety of nanomaterials
Scientists from across Europe will be meeting tomorrow to discuss the safety of nanomaterials and the possibilities for future research programmes.
The event, called New tools and approaches for nanomaterial safety assessment will be meeting from the 7-9 February in Malaga, Spain.
Jointly organised by five major European projects NANOSOLUTIONS, SUN, NanoMILE, GUIDEnano, and eNanoMapper, the event will present the main results achieved in the course of the projects to create discussion about their impact in the nanosafety field and possibilities for future research programmes.
Engineered nanomaterials (ENM) – defined as having at least one dimension smaller than 100nm – have attracted a great deal of interest during recent years, due to their many technologically interesting properties.
The unique properties of ENM and their applications have given birth to immense technological and economic expectations for industries using ENM.
Current legislation and the potential for harm
Some of these properties, however, have given rise to concerns that they may be harmful to humans. Currently, creating commercial products using ENM requires rigorous testing and there are many barriers to overcome.
Current legislation that governs the safety classification of ENM in Europe is complex. Each ENM has to be treated as a separate chemical and be individually tested to assess its safety characteristics.
This means developing new materials using different nanoparticles is both time-consuming and expensive. Consequently, there is a real need for ways to reduce the amount of individual testing of ENM that is currently occurring, as this will help to reduce the cost of developing ENM-based products and speed up innovation.
Conference topics at the event will include:
- Hazard assessment along the life cycle of nano products
- Exposure assessment along the life cycle of nano products
- Risk assessment and management
- Systems biology approaches in nanosafety
- Categorisation and grouping of nanomaterials
- Nanosafety infrastructure
- Safety by design
The conference will be wrapped up with a stakeholder workshop that will provide a platform for an open discussion with interested stakeholders that could ultimately guide the research needs that should be addressed in future projects.
The NANOSOLUTIONS project will also be using the meeting to hold its final conference to assess the impact of its work over the past 4 years.
The project has been looking to identify and elaborate the characteristics of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) that determine their biological hazard potential.
It is developing a safety classification model for ENM based on an understanding of their interactions with living organisms.
This will be critical for maintaining Europe’s position in the nanotechnology field, firstly by making testing procedures shorter and more cost effective, and secondly by increasing public confidence in products that use ENM, thus making them more commercially viable.