Material questions

material questions pracsis newsPracsis organized the latest meeting of the OECD’s special working group on manufactured nanomaterials on 13-14 April 2016.

Experts from around the world gathered in Brussels last month to discuss the latest methods for assessing the safety of nanomaterials—substances falling within the 1 to 100 nanometer range.

The event was organized by DG Environment together with the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, which was established in 2006 to address the human health and environmental safety implications of manufactured nanomaterials.

The main focus of the meeting was on grouping and read-across, an approach that scientists use to predict the properties—including the toxicity—of substances that have not yet been studied in detail.

In the EU, read-across is used to fill in data gaps of chemicals registered under REACH legislation. REACH, which sets out criteria for ensuring the safe use of chemicals, is currently undergoing a review to ensure that nanomaterials are adequately taken into account and that their safe use can be demonstrated.

Among other things, the review has identified the need to find practical approaches to categorize and group nanomaterials to minimize unnecessary animal testing and cost to industry. According to the European Chemicals Agency read-across avoids both “by using test results of a particular property of a substance from analogous substances to predict that property for the target substance.”

The two-day event was held at the MCE Conference & Business Centre in Brussels, but viewers anywhere in the world could watch through a live webcast operated by PRACSIS.