The availability of representative samples of nanomaterials is of key importance for the reproducibility and the reliability of nanomaterials safety testing.
In February 2011 the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) inaugurated a repository of representative nanomaterials. The samples of the selected nanomaterials have been prepared under Good laboratory Practice (GLP) and can serve as international benchmarks (e.g. for the OECD sponsorship programme).
The repository brings together the principal nanomaterials from the OECD sponsorship programme including titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide, zinc oxide, cerium dioxide, nano-silver, nanoclays and multi-walled carbon nanotubes.
To support international collaborative studies, several thousand vials of nanomaterials have been distributed to laboratories in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Poland, Italy, Austria, Slovakia, USA, Canada, Japan, Korea, China and Russia.
The results of the research projects are shared with the JRC and form the basis for reports presenting the physic-chemical characterisation data of the different materials in the repository, and reports on synthetic amorphous silicon dioxide and zinc oxide have been published.
NANOhub information platform
The database and information platform known as the NANOhub was launched by the Institute in October 2009. It is a comprehensive IT platform dedicated to the management of information on nanomaterials which are relevant for safety and risk assessment.
The hub covers application areas such as cosmetics, food and medical. It hosts a number of collections of research project data including NANOtest, ENPRA, InLiveTox, NanoGenoTox, NIA PROSPECT as well as study results from the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN).
The NANOhub information platform is accessible online. It is searchable, interactive and facilitates data and knowledge exchange between projects in a well-defined structure.
Framework for test method development
To supports the Institute’s work in the area of validation, acceptance and regulatory use it has established a framework for test method development, automation and assessment. The framework focuses on the reliability and relevance of test methods. It has introduced criteria which allow the selection and prioritisation of methods for human health hazard identification. This comprises the potential to automate and standardise a method for wide use throughout the testing laboratories community.