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April 23, 2015

ECETOC Nano Task Force Proposes Decision-Making Framework for the Grouping and Testing of Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals (ECETOC) Nano Task Force published an article in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology entitled “A decision-making framework for the grouping and testing of nanomaterials (DF4nanoGrouping).” The DF4nanoGrouping consists of three tiers to assign nanomaterials to four main groups, to perform sub-grouping within the main groups, and to determine and refine specific information needs. According to the abstract, the DF4nanoGrouping covers all relevant aspects of a nanomaterial’s life cycle and biological pathways. Use (including manufacture), release, and route of exposure are applied as qualifiers within the DF4nanoGrouping to determine if, e.g., nanomaterials cannot be released from a product matrix, which may justify the waiving of testing. The four main groups encompass: (1) soluble nanomaterials; (2) biopersistent high aspect ratio nanomaterials; (3) passive nanomaterials; and (4) active nanomaterials. The abstract states that the DF4nanoGrouping aims to group nanomaterials by their specific mode-of-action, resulting in an apical toxic effect that is eventually directed by a nanomaterial’s intrinsic properties. Since the exact correlation of intrinsic material properties and apical toxic effect is not yet established, however, the abstract states that the DF4nanoGrouping uses the functionality of nanomaterials for grouping rather than relying on intrinsic material properties alone. The abstract describes the DF4nanoGrouping as a hazard and risk assessment tool that applies modern toxicology and contributes to the sustainable development of nanotechnological products. It ensures that no studies are performed that do not provide crucial data and, therefore, saves animals and resources.