Categorisation of Nanomaterials

Categorisation of Nanomaterials Thoughts on Read Across and Data Completeness


John Rumble


R&R Data Services


The primary goal of categorisation is simple: To predict a property and functionality (behavior) of a substance, without making the necessary measurement, based on the similarity of that substance to other substances for which we have measurements; further to do this on the basis of scientific evidence, which includes reproducibility, accurate uncertainties, and sound physical principles. Nanomaterials are complex, and nanomaterials that appear to be the same may differ in significant details. The surface reactivity of nanomaterials means that when placed in media with biomolecules and other substances, coatings happen easily and usually randomly. Consequently testing is not being done on the original nanomaterial but one that is heavily coated. Actual mechanisms of actions can be difficult to discern, and relying on gross effects, while proving possible hazardous effects, may not say anything about what actually caused that effect. Even reproducibility does not clarify cause and effect. Large comprehensive data sets of nanomaterials properties are not yet available. Those data sets that are available are sparse. Categorising nanomaterials based on various similarities provides a means for predicting properties without extensive testing, so-called “Read Across”. Work by the EU FutureNanoNeeds project and the CODATA WG on Nanomaterials has identified approaches to categorisation based on a well-developed system to describe nanomaterials and their production. This system is adaptable to different categorisation criteria and applications. In this presentation, we detail the Uniform Description System for Nanomaterials as well as discuss how it can be used for categorisation of nanomaterials. We also discuss criteria for assessing the applicability of categorisation schemes.