The recently published report notes that initiatives have moved beyond the use of quantitative structure activity relationships (Qsars) to determine nanomaterial groups and that conducting a full testing scheme for each and every variant of each nanomaterial will lead to an enormous amount of data that may not be necessary for risk assessment.
According to Ecetoc, a solution to this process is with the 'grouping of chemicals' which allows science-based grouping approaches to predict a substance’s toxicity by comparing it to other similar substances.
For conventional non-nanosized substances, grouping is already allowed, for example by European Chemicals Regulation.
However, grouping nanomaterials is more complex...
Whilst this framework saves time and money, the Centre for Toxicology says grouping nanomaterials is a more complex process as it requires the consideration of physical, chemical and biological properties.
And adds that although various agencies and consortia have made proposals, there is currently no unified global grouping concept.
To develop a consistent approach for grouping nanomaterials, the Ecetoc Nano Task Force first reviewed the available schemes but concluded that none cover all aspects relevant to nanomaterial safety assessment.
The review of available proposed schemes can be seen here and a proposed unified framework is expected in 2015.
In a second step, the Task Force will identify the best available concepts to combine into a comprehensive unified framework that can be applied internationally for the grouping of nanomaterials.
As described above, if the scheme is accepted, it will save time, money and animal experimentation.
This recommendation follows work carried out on nano grouping for substance-related legislation, by Echa, the ICCR and the US-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council RCC Nanotechnology Initiative.