The outcomes of the SCANNER project will directly contribute to the knowledge base needed for greater insights into the impacts of nanomaterials on environment and human health. The project will also contribute to future sound regulatory development for current and future emerging nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are chemical substances or materials that are manufactured and used at a very small scale. The number of nano-based products increased by 30-fold between 2005 and 2015 and this number is set to increase in the upcoming years. Nanomaterials have unique properties with respect to their particle size, surface area and reactivity, charge and shape compared to their bulk or dissolved counterparts. The increasing use in industrial applications, numerous consumer products and water treatment etc. are a likely to be a source of nanomaterials released into the environment.
The SCANNER project aims to evaluate and improve existing approaches for hazard and risk assessment of nanomaterials identified as relevant to the Norwegian and Indian environment. The main work conducted so far has been to carry out a literature, search on the environmental prevalence of emerging nanomaterials, identification of NMs for use in the project and synthesize these particles. The selected particles represent emerging particles with future applications that could see them entering the environment and having detrimental effects on human and environmental health. The particles identified are MoS2 (Molybdenum disulfide) and LDH (Layered double hydroxide). The Indian partners successfully synthesized and supplied to both project partners. In 2022 the project has focused on the testing of these particles with in vivo (both human health relevant and environmental) and in vitro testing and characterization. The initial tests showed low toxicity of both particles in acute exposures. MoS2 appeared to be more toxic that the LDH, however, due the behavior in the exposure media there appear to be confounding factors that may have resulted in this effect. i.e. shading of algae and low food availability. These possible physical effects are being further investigated. The project will focus, in the latter part, on studying the behaviour and impacts of these nanomaterials in the environment and on human health at significantly lower concentrations than used in the acute exposures. Chronic and sub lethal endpoints will be investigated, still focusing on the understanding of uptake, accumulation and effects. The project continues to employ a battery of model marine and freshwater species with different feeding habitats and roles in the aquatic food-web that will be used to identify the most sensitive and vulnerable. The project is led by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) and The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) in India.
There is a need to develop approaches for assessing hazard and risk of nanomaterials (NMs) to ensure adequate protection of environmental and human health. Despite recent progress and development in this field, there are still fundamental gaps in knowledge and approaches, hindering further realistic insight into the NMs impact. There is still insufficient mechanistic understanding of the relationship between intrinsic physicho-chemical and extrinsic properties of NMs that influence exposure and effect. In addition, there is differences in how observed adverse effects are reported and communicated, potentially leading to different interpretation of risks and impacts. SCANNER aims to evaluate and improve existing approaches for hazard and risk assessment of NMs by conducting controlled exposure experiments to obtain detailed knowledge on the mode of action (MoA) and effects of NMs under realistic environmental conditions. The project will be organised in 6 work packages (WPs) that each will contribute with improved knowledge and understanding of the potential impacts of NMs. Relevant particles from a Norwegian and Indian environmental and health perspective (WP1) will be identified and synthesized. State-of-the-art and novel methods for characterisation and quantification of NMs will be used and developed in WP2. A battery of effect-based tools from cell to organism level will be applied to assess MoA and to identify new biomarkers (WP3). The bioavailability, uptake and transport mechanisms of NMs will be studied in detail in WP4. The data generated in all WPs will be integrated in WP5 to develop a hazard and risk assessment approach that can be used for NMs. Finally, WP 6 will focus on dissemination and communication of data to the scientific community and relevant stakeholders in Norway and India. The knowledge obtained will aid future national and international regulatory assessment of NMs and will be disseminated to regulatory authorities such as OECD and ECHA.