Networking regarding the effect of nanomaterials on health and the environment





NanoImpactNet is a European FP7 network project. Its objective is to facilitate co-operation between the individual projects concerning safety of nanomaterials, communicate results between project partners, and assist in implementation of the EU Action Plan for Nanotechnology.

New technological developments enable materials in the nanometre range (< 100 mm) to be manufactured selectively. Nanomaterials have particular chemical, physical and bioactive properties. Some nanoparticles are able to pass barriers in the human body. This may be a useful property in certain medical applications, but at the same time it gives rise to concerns regarding their impact upon health and the environment.

Despite the latest developments in medical and toxicological research, it remains unclear precisely how nanomaterials interact with biological functions. Concerns are growing, particularly with regard to the potential implications for safety, health and the environment. Evidence exists that some of these materials are able to pass tissue barriers (including the blood-brain barrier) and cell membranes.

Little is known about the exposure of employees and consumers to nanomaterials. Even less is known about the environmental behaviour and impact of nanomaterials. Clear gaps in knowledge therefore exist that must be addressed at European level as a matter of priority.

The mission of NanoImpactNet is to assure a scientific basis for the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology and nanoparticle-based materials and products, and to support and define regulatory measures and their implementation in Europe.

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