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March 7, 2014

OECD Issues Expert Meeting Report on Ecotoxicology and Environmental Fate of Manufactured Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 7, 2014, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) posted a report entitled Ecotoxicology and Environmental Fate of Manufactured Nanomaterials: Test Guidelines, which provides a report of the discussion and recommendations from the January 2013 expert meeting on ecotoxicology and environmental fate. As part of OECD’s Program on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials, it initiated a series of expert meetings intended to improve the applicability of the OECD Test Guidelines (TG) to nanomaterials.  The main objective of the meeting was to assess the applicability of existing TGs to manufactured nanomaterials, with a view to:

  1. Identify the needs for updating the OECD TGs related to environmental fate and ecotoxicology, and developing new nanospecific TGs;
  2. Identify specific needs for developing/updating existing guidance documents, including identifying the need for additional sections for fate and ecotoxicology testing of nanomaterials; and
  3. Develop separate specific or adapt existing guidance documents for environmental fate and ecotoxicology testing of nanomaterials.

Meeting participants concluded that OECD TGs 201, 211, 222, 225, 305, 315, and 317 are applicable to engineered nanomaterials (ENM).  According to the participants, TG 105 is not appropriate for nanomaterials, and a TG should be developed that addresses the dissolution behavior of ENMs.  The participants concluded that TG 106 for measuring the adsorption and desorption behavior of a substance in soils cannot be applied for the testing of nanomaterials, since no valid differentiation between adsorbed and not adsorbed ENMs is possible. The OECD report includes specific recommendations regarding the application of each TG to ENMs and details about the data analysis, acceptable loss of the ENMs during the test, endpoints, test procedure, selection of the test media, and target organism.