About this Research Topic
Engineered nanomaterials (NMs) are defined as man-made (intentionally produced) materials where at least 50% of the primary particles, aggregates, and/or agglomerates have one or more external dimension between 1 and 100 nm. Such materials possess unique physicochemical properties that make them suitable for use in various industrial sectors. Nevertheless, there is still limited knowledge about the impacts of NMs on human health and environment, and consequently, health and safety policies related to NMs exposure are in the initial phase of development. The potential health and environmental impacts of manufactured NMs need to be considered and, hence, new risk assessment frameworks and control banding-like tools as well as higher-level risk assessment or management tools for evaluating these factors, such as appropriate risk assessment (RA) procedures, need to be developed for enabling safe use of NMs and facilitate decision-making on risk uncertainties.
In general, the methodology used in the RA process for NMs is similar to the one that is already used for other types of chemicals. However, at a practical level, the RA process for the nanotechnology field is challenging but, one of the major limitations lies in the very narrow amount of available information on NM hazard identification, dose-response relationships, and exposure characterization.
Due to the lack of knowledge about the impacts of NMs on the environment and human health, reliable RA tools should be a priority for proper environmental and human risk assessment. However, some critical issues and uncertainties should be deeply addressed when the RA process is applied to emerging technologies, such as NMs. In fact, the RA process in the context of nanotechnology often turns out to be difficult, due to the limited available information related to (i) relevant and comprehensive toxicity data, (ii) metrics relevant for hazards assessment, (iii) known emissions throughout the life cycle of NMs and nano-enabled products, (iv) measured exposure concentrations and (v) appropriate methods for exposure assessment. More efforts are thus needed to develop tiered and standardized strategies to adequately collect relevant information for the hazard identification, dose-response assessment and exposure assessment phases, as well as to improve the current methods for RA and in occupational settings.
This Research Topic aims to create a multidisciplinary forum of discussion on topics to develop risk assessment and management for the safe management of NMs. Authors are welcome to contribute with original research articles as well as review articles that cover the following topics: (1) current and new methods for NMs risk assessment; (2) exposure-based risk assessment approaches in NMs occupational settings; (3) methods and studies to support the hazard identification, dose-response assessment and exposure assessment phases for NMs and nano-enabled products; (4) methodological issues related to the risk assessment and risk management for NMs in occupational settings, in the context of nanotechnology.
Keywords: nanomaterials, nanoparticles, nanotechnology, nanotoxicology, risk assessment, risk evaluation, risk characterization, risk management, hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response assessment
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