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TURI Publishes Nanomaterials Fact Sheet

Recently, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI), a research, education, and policy center established by the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Act of 1989, published a nanomaterials fact sheet.  The fact sheet is part of a series of chemical and material fact sheets developed by TURI that are intended to help Massachusetts companies, community organizations, and residents understand the use of hazardous substances and their effects on human health and the environment.  The fact sheet also includes information on safer alternatives and safer use options.

According to the fact sheet, TURI researchers have started a blueprint for design rules for safer nanotechnology.  The design rules include five principles, which together follow the acronym SAFER, as shown below.  The principles focus on aspects such as modifying physical-chemical characteristics of the material to diminish the hazard, considering alternative materials, and enclosing the material within another, less hazardous, material.  The fact sheet notes that other researchers have proposed other more specific design rules, which include avoiding chemical compositions of engineered nanomaterials that contain known toxic elements, and avoiding nanomaterials with dimensions that are known to possess hazardous properties.

Design Principles for SAFER Nanotechnology

  1. Size, surface, and structure: Diminish or eliminate the hazard by changing the size, surface, or structure of the nanoparticle while preserving the functionality of the nanomaterial for the specific application;
  2. Alternative materials: Identify either nano or bulk safer alternatives that can be used to replace a hazardous nanoparticle;
  3. Functionalization: Add additional molecules (or atoms) to the nanomaterial to diminish or eliminate the hazard while preserving desired properties for a specific application;
  4. Encapsulation: Enclose a nanoparticle within another less hazardous material; and
  5. Reduce the quantity: In situations where the above design principles cannot be used to reduce or eliminate the hazard of a nanomaterial, and continued use is necessary, investigate opportunities to use smaller quantities while still maintaining product functionality.

The fact sheet provides a summary of regulations concerning nanomaterials.  Massachusetts currently has no regulations specifically governing the use or release of nanomaterials.  At the federal level, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) primarily regulates nanomaterials under the Toxic Substances Control Act.

The fact sheet notes that as of 2017, companies using or manufacturing nanomaterials that have not been subject to pre-manufacture notices or significant new use rules will be subject to a one-time reporting and recordkeeping rule.

Events

Canadian Ecotoxicology Workshop – Vancouver, Sept. 30th to Oct. 3rd, 2018

September 30 – October 3, 2018 | Vancouver, BC

Formerly known as the Aquatic Toxicity Workshop (ATW), CEW is Canada’s predominant annual meeting in the field of ecological toxicology and related disciplines.  It provides the opportunity to share information on current and emerging topics of regional, national and international importance related to contaminants in ecosystems, both aquatic and terrestrial. Participants include students, academics, government scientists and regulators, environmental consultants and industry representatives. More Information

CEW is held annually in a different region of Canada to draw interest among a wider group of ecotoxicologists and to gain a national perspective of current and emerging issues. These three-day workshops are traditionally held in the fall, where 200-400 participants take in more than 150 platform and poster presentations.

Each workshop is hosted by a local Organizing Committee on behalf on the Board. Workshops are organized on a two-year planning schedule, where arrangements for the date and location are finalized during the first year, and program and other details finalized the following year. Workshops are planned on a cost-recovery basis, with additional support from sponsorships.

The success of workshops has largely been due to attendees who have generously contributed their time in serving in various capacities. Further information about forthcoming workshops, and general information about the Workshop series may be obtained from those listed under Contacts.