Progress is needed in the prediction of environmental distribution, concentration and form (speciation) of nanomaterials, to allow early assessment of potential environmental and human exposure and risks, to facilitate safe product design and to include these aspects in nano regulation.
The overarching objective of NanoFASE is to deliver an Integrated Exposure Assessment Framework (protocols, models, parameter values, guidance ...) that:
- Allows all stakeholders to assess the environmental fate of nano releases from industrial nano-enabled products,
- Is acceptable in regulatory registrations and can be integrated into the EUSES model for REACH assessment,
- Allows industry a cost-effective product-to-market process, and
- Delivers the understanding at all levels to support dialogue with public and consumers.
The ambition is to reach a level of ENM Fate and exposure assessment at least comparable with that for conventional chemicals.
For that, NanoFASE will develop a set of novel concepts and approaches to underpin the Framework, developed as common themes linking the research, exploitation and dissemination throughout the project.
Our vision is to move from the current mainly mass-based lifecycle and release flow approaches towards systems that can account for spatial and temporal variability of ENM release, environmental transport and fate. The framework, supported by standard operating procedures (SOPs), parameter values, models and guidance, will incorporate:
1. the behaviour of the actual relevant ENM forms released from ENM products (a distribution of composite bound and free particles);
2. how reactions in waste management and environmental compartments (or "reactors") transform such release-relevant ENMs (integrating environmental speciation with ENM properties); and
3. the consequences of these transformations for transport and fate and among the different environmental compartments including organism uptake and local accumulation of ENMs in some environmental compartments ("environmental sinks" and hot spots).