Nanomaterial grouping: Existing approaches and future recommendations
Tidsskrift: NanoImpact, vol. 16:100182, 100182, 1–18, 2019
Sammendrag: The physico-chemical properties of manufactured nanomaterials (NMs) can be fine-tuned to obtain different functionalities addressing the needs of specific industrial applications. The physico-chemical properties of NMs also drive their biological interactions. Accordingly, each NM requires an adequate physico-chemical characterization and potentially an extensive and time-consuming (eco)toxicological assessment, depending on regulatory requirements. Grouping and read-across approaches, which have already been established for chemicals in general, are based on similarity between substances and can be used to fill data gaps without performing additional testing. Available data on “source” chemicals are thus used to predict the fate, toxicokinetics and/or (eco)toxicity of structurally similar “target” chemical(s). For NMs similar approaches are only beginning to emerge and several challenges remain, including the identification of the most relevant physico-chemical properties for supporting the claim of similarity. In general, NMs require additional parameters for a proper physico-chemical description. Furthermore, some parameters change during a NM's life cycle, suggesting that also the toxicological profile may change. This paper compares existing concepts for NM grouping, considering their underlying basic principles and criteria as well as their applicability for regulatory and other purposes. Perspectives and recommendations based on experiences obtained during the EU Horizon 2020 project NanoReg2 are presented. These include, for instance, the importance of harmonized data storage systems, the application of harmonized scoring systems for comparing biological responses, and the use of high-throughput and other screening approaches. We also include references to other ongoing EU projects addressing some of these challenges.