The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has interviewed Dr Robert Landsiedel, from NIA Member BASF, in the latest edition of its newsletter. In it Dr Landsiedel discusses ‘using read-across and categories to improve safety of nanomaterials’.
In it Dr Landsiedel states that “we now have a good idea of which nanomaterial applications pose a risk to human health and which ones can be used safely”. He adds that “there is no general nanotoxicology but different nanomaterials have different toxic effects” which need “to be identified to ensure their safe use”; however the “modifications and compositions” of nanomaterials are too numerous for them all to be covered by studies, and so he feels “we need to define various groups of particles, according to their potential to cause adverse effects to humans”.
As a solution, he proposes a ‘multi-purpose approach’ that looks at all of the steps in between material properties and adverse outcomes, such as life-cycle assessments (LCA). He states that there are already “a lot of tools at hand for grouping, read-across, waiving and categories”, and believes that “the idea is not to restrict grouping to only one subject, but to use and combine all the different tools…that are already available”. Dr Landsiedel, as such, feels that “the multi-perspective grouping offers a flexible decision-making framework which can be used and further developed at the same time”.
In the interview Dr Landsiedel also states that he feels read-across and category approaches have reduced the need for animal testing, drawing from his own work at BASF. He nevertheless feels that there is more still to be done in this area, but that “industry and authorities share the same ultimate goal of reducing animal testing”.