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Nano review highlights need to identify key chemical characteristics of nanomaterials

Identifying which physico-chemical characteristics “drive” the toxicity of nanomaterials is vital to developing suitable legislation and risk management measures, according to a multinational group of researchers led by Helinor Johnston at Heriot-Watt University, UK.

The researchers have carried out an extensive review of nanotoxicology studies. The review highlights the need for more exposure data. “As with any emerging technology or novel material, the scarcity of exposure and effect data introduces potentially high uncertainty into the characterisation of nanomaterials risk,” say the researchers. “Future priorities will include not only the generation of new exposure and hazard data, but also the application of suitable approaches and methods to support future decisions on nanomaterials risk.”

In-depth risk assessments of nanomaterials are not yet possible because of a lack of data, say the researchers. In the meantime, approaches based on weight-of-evidence are “suitable alternatives”, they add.

The review is published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology.

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