Data on nanomaterials need to be fit for the intended purpose
The JRC contributed to a review and survey of key nanomaterial data, resulting in recommendations concerning the central question on how the completeness and quality of curated nanomaterials data should be evaluated.
A consortium of scientists from 16 different institutions from the EU and the USA, including a scientist from the JRC, reviewed the literature and properties of data on nanomaterials. The completeness and quality of curated (i.e. actively managed) nanomaterial data are essential to draw meaningful conclusions, e.g. concerning their toxicity properties.
Curation of data on nanomaterials into electronic databases offers opportunities to better understand and predict nanomaterials' behaviour. The data should be sufficiently complete and of acceptable quality to render them fit for their intended purpose e.g. risk assessment. It is important to assess the potential of nanotechnology to deliver benefits to society while ensuring acceptable impacts on human health and the environment. However, assessing data completeness and quality is non-trivial in general and particularly challenging in the nanoscience area, given its highly multidisciplinary nature.
Therefore, the consortium addressed this key challenge by discussing minimum information checklists, toxicology data quality schemes, computational approaches that facilitate evaluation of the completeness and quality of data, as well as more specific issues such as physicochemical characterisation requirements for nanomaterials and interference of nanomaterials with nanotoxicology assays. Aspects specific to the nanoscience area and lessons which can be learned from other relevant scientific disciplines are considered. The development of relevant resources for data evaluation will require community-driven consensus regarding nanomaterial data requirements, which will best be supported by appropriate organisations and initiatives with an international reach.