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New ISO Standard Helps to Find Toxicity of Nanoparticles

Published on 2011-01-27. Author : SpecialChem

With the rapid growth of nanotechnology-based products, researchers, manufacturers, regulators and consumers are increasingly concerned with their safety and environmental impact. To help address this issue, ISO has published an International Standard to support the inhalation toxicity testing of nanoparticles.

The potential of nanotechnology is huge, and its applications range as wide as medicine, beauty, IT, advanced materials and even food. But as a relatively new technology, scientists still have a lot to learn about nanoparticles.

Dr. Peter Hatto, Chair of the committee that developed the standard explains, "With the rapid expansion of nanotechnology applications comes a growing risk of exposure to potentially toxic substances, especially for workers in nanotechnology-based industries. Moreover, if airborne nanoparticles were liberated from products, the general public could also be affected. Ensuring the safety of these particles is therefore paramount for the well-being of workers and consumers."

Carefully monitored tests are used to establish the inhalation toxicity of airborne nanoparticles. The new standard, ISO 10808:2010, Nanotechnologies - Characterization of nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for inhalation toxicity testing, helps ensure that the results of such tests are reliable and harmonized worldwide.

Dr. Hatto adds, "In order to test inhalation toxicity it is necessary to monitor concentration, size and size-distribution of nanoscale particles in an inhalation chamber. Traditional methods used in other areas are considered insufficient for testing nanoparticles since parameters specific to them like particle surface area or number, might be crucial determinants of toxicity. ISO 10808 takes into account the particular characteristics and potential risks of nanoparticles, and is thus an important asset to the industry."

ISO 10808 establishes a battery of inhalation toxicity testing chamber monitoring, including a differential mobility analyzing system (DMAS), for determining particle number, size, size-distribution, surface area and estimated mass dose, as well as morphological examination using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) or scanning electron microscopy (SEM) equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray analyzer (EDXA) for chemical composition.

About ISO

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 163 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.

Source: ISO


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