The European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology (Ecetoc) Task Force on Nanomaterials has analyzed existing methods of grouping nanomaterials for human-health risk assessment and concluded that a “multiple perspective” framework would be the most efficient approach for regulatory purposes. Josje H.E. Arts, et al., “A critical appraisal of existing concepts for the grouping of nanomaterials,” Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (2014). The task force will next put forward a specific proposal for this approach.

Among other matters, the nanomaterial grouping would encompass, as relevant to the specific use contemplated, “all aspects of the substance’s entire life cycle,” including material properties, biophysical interactions, external exposures, uptake and internal exposures, as well as “biokinetics and possibly early biological and apical effects.” The task force explained, “Overall, a comprehensive, ‘multiple perspective’ NM [nanomaterial] grouping framework, linked to concern-driven IATA s [integrated approaches for testing and assessment], serves to streamline testing to the collection of data that is relevant for NM safety assessment. Since the ‘multiple perspective’ framework is founded on scientifically justifiable categories, safe uses of NM s can be identified and unsafe uses excluded. Finally, the ‘multiple perspective’ NM grouping framework allows assessing NM s economically and in a timesaving manner and contributes to replacing, reducing, and refining the need for animal testing.”