New guidance brings clarity to environmental hazard and behaviour testing of nanomaterials

Elijah Joel Petersen (Korresp. Autor*in), Greg Gerard Goss, Frank von der Kammer, Alan James Kennedy

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftShort CommunicationPeer Reviewed


Manufactured nanomaterials (MNs) may have novel or enhanced properties compared to
bulk materials with the same elemental composition, enabling a range of product
applications in multiple sectors. With the potential for widespread usage of MNs in
products, it is essential to reproducibly assess their potential for ecological and
human health risks and environmental fate during a product’s life cycle1. However, the unique properties and dynamic behaviours
of MNs hinder the attainment of consistent environmental hazard and fate results.
Regulatory agencies often require standardized test methods to assess
the potential aquatic toxicity hazards of substances and their environmental
behaviours. Most methods for ecotoxicological testing were designed
for dissolved substances; depending on the protocol, this may involve intentional
removal of solid-phase particulates and thus exclusion of potential ‘physical
effects’, or insufficient characterization to understand the relative contribution of
solid particulates versus soluble fractions on the overall hazard3. While there is an Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD) guidance document (GD) for evaluating the
ecotoxicity of ‘difficult to test substnces’2,
that GD was not designed to consider MNs and could be interpreted to intentionally
exclude particulate materials (that is, MNs) from aquatic toxicity exposures. Thus, one
of the early questions in nanotechnology environmental health and safety research
was to what extent currently available standard methods can be used to assess the
ecotoxicological risks and environmental behaviours of MNs4. An OECD workshop (Berlin 20135) concluded that new
MN-specific test guidelines (TGs) and GDs were required to address the fundamentally
different environmental behaviour (for example, agglomeration, dissolution,
transformation) of MNs in standardized testing. It was also concluded that standard
ecotoxicological test methods should be acceptable to evaluate MNs after certain
amendments6,7, but additional discussion
was needed to reach consensus on what modifications are required or allowed.
To fulfil this need, international groups of scientists worked together from 2014
to 2020 to develop specific GDs and TGs
to quantify the dispersion stability and dissolution of MNs, and to guide the use
of OECD aquatic toxicity test methods for water column organisms (for example, algae,
fish, zooplankton) and sediment organisms with MNs. This resulted in a publication
in 2015 describing initial guidance on this topic for ecotoxicity testing3, followed by the release in July 2020 of two new GDs:
OECD GD 317 titled Guidance document on aquatic and sediment toxicological
testing of nanomaterials8 and OECD
GD 318 titled Guidance document for the testing of dissolution and dispersion
stability of nanomaterials and the use of the data for further environmental testing
and assessment strategies.
Seiten (von - bis)482-483
FachzeitschriftNature Nanotechnology
Frühes Online-Datum13 Mai 2021
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 30 Mai 2021

ÖFOS 2012

  • 210001 Nanoanalytik
  • 104023 Umweltchemie
  • 210006 Nanotechnologie
  • 210004 Nanomaterialien