A consensus paper published in the March issue of the open access peer-reviewed journal Materials reviewed existing knowledge gaps regarding the exposure to and hazard of nanomaterials (Hunt et al. 2013). Nanomaterials are increasingly used in manufacturing processes, waste management processes and industrial and consumer goods, including food packaging. However, evaluating nanomaterial’s health impact through thorough hazard assessment remains problematic. This is due to a lack of analytical standards, difficulties in characterizing nanomaterials, limited knowledge of fate and transport of nanomaterials, and their dispersion, uptake and mode-of-action in the body. Further issues identified by Hunt and colleagues are potential cumulative impacts of nanomaterials, the variety of potential exposure and release scenarios.
Overall, the authors identify 32 knowledge gaps which deserve research attention. The report summarizes the results of the NanoImpactNet, a 4-year research project on the health, safety and environmental impacts of nanomaterials funded by the European Commission’s 7th Framwork Programme. The project involved an interdisciplinary group of scientists as well as industry, regulatory bodies and policy makers.
Hunt et al. (2013). “Towards a Consensus View on Understanding Nanomaterials Hazards and Managing Exposure: Knowledge Gaps and Recommendations.” Materials 2013, 6(3), 1090-1117.