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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
JRC scientists have made an inventory of publicly available tools for the safety assessment of nanomaterials. This JRC-hosted dataset is a comprehensive source of information on existing tools and can be easily extended to accommodate new types of risk governance instruments.
Under the European chemical safety regulation (REACH) and similar legislation around the world, the safety of nanomaterials to human health and the environment must be assessed. This poses some difficulties, since the hazards of nanomaterials result from their physical as well as chemical properties. Some of the tools needed for assessing their safety do not yet exist or are still in development.
The EU FP7-funded NANoREG project made an extensive inventory of publicly available, ready-to-use tools for nanomaterial safety assessment. This inventory, the NANoREG Toolbox, was first published last year in the JRC Data Catalogue as a freely accessible Microsoft Excel®-based dataset. JRC scientists have now also published a scientific article describing the NANoREG Toolbox and analysing its content. The dataset describes and locates more than 500 tools for various assessment tasks, an unprecedented effort in identifying tools for nanomaterial safety assessment.
The safety assessment tools recorded in the NANoREG Toolbox are relevant and useful for similar assessments anywhere in the world. They also support alternative approaches to nanomaterial safety, such as safe-by-design and life cycle assessment. Regulators, scientists and the industry can use the NANoREG Toolbox as a starting point to search for available tools for specific needs.
The JRC therefore encourages global use of the NANoREG Toolbox. The dataset could also serve as the basis for a harmonised tool database maintained by international community efforts. Such a database would substantially support the global risk governance of nanotechnologies.
Read more in: A. P.K. Jantunen, S. Gottardo, K.Rasmussen and H.P. Crutzen. An inventory of ready-to-use and publicly available tools for the safety assessment of nanomaterials. NanoImpact, Volume 12 (2018) 18-28. doi: 10.1016/j.impact.2018.08.007