Nanotechnology is a fast growing industry producing a wide variety of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) and numerous potential applications. Consequently, the potential for exposure to humans and the environment is likely to increase. Human exposure to MNMs and environmental release of these materials can occur during all the life cycle stages of these materials. For each stage of the life cycle of an MNM, exposure scenarios will need to be developed that effectively describe how exposure to humans and the environment occur and what measures are required to control the exposure.
The aim of the NANEX project is to develop a catalogue of generic and specific (ocupational, consumer and environmental release) exposure scenarios for MNMs taking account of the entire lifecycle of these materials. NANEX will collect and review available exposure information, focussing on three very relevant MNMs:
- high aspect ratio nanomaterials - HARNs) (e.g. carbon nanotubes)
- mass-produced nanomaterials (e.g. ZnO, TiO2, carbon black)
- specialised nanomaterials that are currently only produced on a small scale (e.g Ag)).
The exposure information will include both quantitative (measurement results) and qualitative contextual exposure information (risk management measures). We will also review the applicability of existing models for occupational and consumer exposure assessment and for environmental release from these scenarios. We will carry out a small number of specific case illustrations and carry out a gap analyses of the available knowledge and data. Finally, we project knowledge will be disseminated to relevant stakeholders, taking into account other relevant activities that are taking place in this field.