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Grouping of multi-walled carbon nanotubes to read across genotoxicity: a case study to evaluate the applicability of regulatory guidance

Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) consist of multiple layers of graphene sheets in a tubular shape. Due to their specific material properties, such as electrical and thermal conductivity, strength, rigidity, and toughness they are useful in a wide variety of applications in electronics, optics and other fields of materials science. Depending on the synthesis and purification method, MWCNTs may differ in size, shape, rigidity and other properties. Previous research has shown that physicochemical properties can influence the translocation and toxicity of MWCNTs. This paper describes a case study following the “Recommendations for nanomaterials applicable to the Guidance on QSARs and Grouping”, developed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Based on the data availability genotoxicity was selected as the hazard endpoint to explore and illustrate read across. The grouping hypothesis was supported by the use of chemoinformatics techniques such as hierarchical clustering and principal components analysis. The uncertainties of the present case study were evaluated using the Read-Across Assessment Framework (RAAF) developed by ECHA. This study shows the practical application of the ECHA framework for grouping of nanomaterials (NMs) as well as use of the ECHA RAAF for NMs, and how this can be supported by chemoinformatics techniques. Some adaptations to the workflow are suggested for a more practical and straightforward narrative in the reporting.
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