Nanomaterials are up to 10 000 times smaller than the width of a human hair and are found in many products from paints to cosmetics. Yet they may have a big impact on our everyday life. So what is so special about nanomaterials? Nanomaterials may have different properties compared to the same substance in bulk form. That means that a material could change when it goes from bulk to nanoform, but at what size that happens varies depending on the substance.
Just like any other chemical substance, nanomaterials have to be assessed for their safety using appropriate tools and methodologies. For that reason, the OECD Programme on Manufactured Nanomaterials and the OECD Test Guidelines Programme collaborate to identify and develop standardised methods that can be used to generate relevant and reliable data. To intensify this endeavor and support the OECD, a three-year project called NANOMET, funded by the European Union has been launched in May 2020.
On Thursday 25 February 2021, Anne Gourmelon (Environment Directorate, OECD), Kathrin Schwirn (German Environment Agency, Umweltbundesamt, UBA); Frank von der Kammer (University of Vienna) Research and Development Center) and Doris Völker (German Environment Agency, Umweltbundesamt, UBA) presented the scope, content, and use of the Test Guideline No. 318: Dispersion Stability of Nanomaterials in Simulated Environmental Media and its accompanying Guidance Document. Further discussions focused on the scope of the upcoming Test Guideline.
On Tuesday 26 January 2021, Anne Gourmelon (Environment Directorate, OECD), Elijah J. Petersen (National Institute of Standards and Technology); Alan Kennedy (Engineering Research and Development Center) and Gregory Goss (University of Alberta) presented the scope and use of the guidance document No. 317 on aquatic and sediment ecotoxicity testing of nanomaterials. The guidance addresses practical aspects of carrying out valid tests on nanomaterials, and modifications or additions to OECD Test Guidelines procedures intended to improve the accuracy of test results.
This document provides guidance on methods to address solubility and dissolution rate of nanomaterials, which are crucial to predict their fate and behaviour in the environment and for understanding the changes in their bioavailability, reactivity, fate, and toxicity. It also addresses nanomaterials-specific modifications or additions to the procedures described in the test methods and aims to give support for the interpretation of the test results.
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This document provides guidance for aquatic (including sediment) ecotoxicity testing of nanomaterials for the purposes of determining their hazard. It addresses practical aspects of carrying out valid tests on nanomaterials, and modifications or additions to OECD Test Guidelines procedures intended to incrementally improve the accuracy of test results.
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The main purpose of this guideline is to assess the ability of a nanomaterial to attain a colloidal dispersion and to conserve this dispersion under environmentally relevant conditions. The test procedure involves a dispersion of the nanomaterial with the aid of a calibrated sonication procedure and the determination of the mass concentration of the nanomaterial in a set of test vials while the particles undergo homoagglomeration and settling in environments of different hydrochemistry.
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The purpose of the study was to learn about the applicability and accuracy of proposed experimental routines, determine whether the described procedures are interpreted and implemented correctly, identify the factors that can affect results variability and perform the analysis of statistical variability. It reports the design of the round robin test and describes the procedures (participating laboratories; study design; chemicals tested; validation of the results; results; and conclusions.)
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The purpose of the OECD Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials is to provide up-to-date information on the OECD activities related to human health and environmental safety.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 887268. Previous financial contributions from the European Union supported the development of publications referenced here published before 2020.