OECD publishes 'unprecedented’ volume of nanomaterials data
Echa is urging REACH registrants of nanoforms of substances to check whether their dossiers need updating following the OECD’s publication of what the global organisation calls an “unprecedented” volume of new data.
As reported by Chemical Watch last summer (CW 26 June 2014), the OECD has decided to give free access to vast swathes of data collected for its nanomaterials testing programme.
The organisation says the wealth of new information “has dramatically shifted the world’s understanding of the properties and application of nanomaterials”.
The data is being published now because the OECD has just completed its seven-year experimental testing programme for nanomaterials, covering 11 commercially viable nanomaterials and over 110 different chemical tests. More than 780 studies of the specific properties of such materials were conducted to plug gaps in scientific understanding.
Public acceptance of the use of nanomaterials in consumer products – partly driven by the lack of information on where they are used – remains a concern, and several EU member states have adopted, or are planning to draft, national laws requiring companies to report their uses (CW 28 May 2015).
Meanwhile, the European Commission is still working on proposed changes to the REACH information requirements for nanomaterials, and a related impact assessment.
Echa executive director Geert Dancet says the OECD’s data would not only help ongoing research projects, but would also be a “contribution for better transparency of safety information on existing nanomaterials on the market”.
And Bob Diderich, head of the OECD’s environmental, health and safety division, says the public “should feel confident that we now better know how to assess the safety of nanomaterials”.
The programme was established, says the OECD, to ensure that the approaches for hazard, exposure and risk assessment for manufactured nanomaterials “are of a high quality, science-based and internationally harmonised”. It has also provided useful information on the intrinsic properties of such materials.
The OECD has concluded that the approaches for the testing and assessment of traditional chemicals “are, in general, appropriate for assessing the safety of nanomaterials, but may have to be adapted to the specificities of nanomaterials. As with other chemicals, it is clear that each nanomaterial may pose specific challenges, but in most instances, they can be addressed with existing test methods and assessment approaches. In some cases, it might be necessary to adapt methods of sample preparation and dosimetry for safety testing. Similarly, adaptations may be needed for certain test guidelines, but it will not be necessary to develop completely new approaches for nanomaterials.”
Importantly, the new data has been published in Iuclid format, making it compatible with the REACH-IT system that companies use to submit and update their REACH registration dossiers.