Sep 27, 2015

This week in Nano: Week 39 (Sept 21st-27th)

Like the new Risk Bites video on Microbeads and after the publication of the article 'Scientific Evidence Supports a Ban on Microbeads' in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology it is a great start to begin to understand why micorbeads are a cause for concern.

The Volkswagen scandal hit the press this week with the car manufacturing company admitting that software was used to lower emissions results during laboratory tests of some of its diesel vehicles.
This BBC article 'The science behind the Volkswagen emissions scandal' gives a good run down on why controlling the levels of Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in our atmosphere is important. Briefly NO2 is one of a group of highly reactive gasses and it is used as an indicator for the larger group of nitrogen oxides.  Nitrous oxides form when fuel is burned at high temperatures, and comes principally from the exhaust of transport vehicles power plants, electric utilities and industrial boilers.  It contributes to the formation of ozone, and fine particle pollution and has been linked with many adverse effects on the respiratory system.
Image taken from

This report from the RIVM 'Grouping nanomaterials: A strategy towards grouping and read-across' addresses the inherent problem of nanomaterial tox testing (that individual physico-chemical parameters and (eco)toxicity endpoint analysis incurs huge costs/ require animal testing and time). This report looked at a way to develop a method of extrapolate test results from one nanomaterial to another in order to address these concerns. As the summary concludes the strategy 'has proven useful in two hypothetical case studies (nanosilver and nanotitanium dioxide). Nevertheless, it was concluded that improvement is needed for the documentation of the information from the laboratory testing of nanomaterials to support read-across. Particularly relevant physico-chemical properties of the nanomaterials and test conditions need more detailed descriptions. Furthermore, the scientific community needs to continue developing test methods that can characterize certain behaviours of nanomaterials to support read-across.' So the same take home message to researchers working on nanomaterials - characterisation characterisation and characterisation! The report can be found here.