Nanomaterials Remain a Safety Risk

According to the ECHA, nanomaterials remain a black box. Regulatory agencies find it difficult to check the potential hazards that arise from nanomaterials because the data required to prove their harmlessness continues to be unavailable. That’s the conclusion reached by members of the ECHA Management Board at their meeting in mid-December 2017. They see dwindling trust in the market for these materials and urge the EC Commission to act.

The authors also lament the laws that bind the hands of agencies and forbid them to demand the necessary data from companies. On the contrary, they are limited to the data that companies provide.

In the future, the ECHA will therefore increase its collaboration with individual countries and OECD test guidelines. The OECD recently updated its guidelines on chemical toxicity (in German) and the dispersion stability of nanomaterials.

Meaningful data is undoubtedly needed to estimate the dangers correctly. In January, scientists at the West Virginia University School of Medicine released the results of a study. They discovered that pregnant rats exposed to titanium dioxide aerosols experienced changes in fetal tissue. The authors argue that long-term human exposure to such nanomaterials could lead to similar damage.

The team selected titanium dioxide because it is the most widely spread nanomaterial. Last year, the Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) suggested a harmonized classification of Category 2, carcinogenic when inhaled.

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