Mexico is one of the major countries in Latin America to identify nanotechnology as a priority area for development in its Science, Technology, and Innovation Plan and has a strategic trading position in the region. However, there are concerns on the safety of engineered nanomaterials and their potential risks to human health and the environment. The project objective is to provide a critical overview of the key issues related to the safe and sustainable development of nanotechnology throughout the value chain for Mexican professionals working in this field.
The main goals are to review nanosafety concepts, identify the infrastructure needed to evaluate physical, health and environmental hazards based on the particular conditions in Mexico, exchange experience on the status of nanosafety statutory or regulatory guidelines, and foster a greater awareness of the challenges and best practices for the safe use of engineered nanomaterials.
Engineered nanomaterials are now used in many consumer products. However, the development of methods for risk assessment and safe use of these materials has not kept pace with this rapid development. The lack of adequate characterization of nanomaterials and reproducible and validated methods for toxicological studies are major bottlenecks to risk assessment.
A workshop will provide a critical overview of some of the key issues related to the safe and sustainable development and application of nanotechnology throughout its value chain. The main objectives are to foster a greater awareness of the challenges, identify the infrastructure needed to evaluate physical, health and environmental hazards, exchange experience on the status of nanosafety statutory or regulatory guidelines, and best practices for the safe use of engineered nanomaterials and summarize nanosafety-related concepts. It will especially focus on challenges faced by the developing nanomaterial industry within Mexico.
The workshop venue will be Centro Nacional de Metrologia (CENAM) in Queretaro (200 km from Mexico City), an area with a strong concentration of nano-related activity. CENAM is the national reference laboratory for measurements and supports the development and dissemination of tools including reference measurement procedures, certified reference materials, critically evaluated data, and best practice guides that assure measurement quality.
Presentations will focus on 4 areas:
(1) the importance of characterization of nanomaterials, both as produced and in complex matrices,
(2) transformations of nanomaterials when used in consumer products or released to the environment,
(3) current nanotoxicology methods and gaps for environment and human health studies, and
(4) challenges for risk assessment.
There will be a poster session where all attendees, including students, can present their work and benefit from one-on-one interactions with local and international experts and two panel discussions to summarize current best practices and assess feasibility of introduction in Mexican laboratories. Attendees (targeting 40-50 researchers and students) will be drawn from Mexican universities, research centres and industries with a strong focus on nanotechnology with key international speakers.
The workshop will feature presentations from task group members and additional international and Mexican speakers with a mix of academic, government, regulatory agencies and industry.
The workshop dates are set for 28-29 Sep 2017 and the workshop webpage is:
June 2018 update – The Nanosafety Workshop was held in Queretaro, Mexico on September 28-29, 2017. The workshop was organized by the following task group members: Linda Johnston, National Research Council Canada, Co-Chair; Norma Gonzalez-Rojano, Centro Nacional de Metrologia, Co-Chair; Kevin Wilkinson, Université de Montréal; Baoshan Xing, University of Massachusetts; Esther Castro-Galvan, Centro Nacional de Metrologia; and Yoshito Mitani, Centro Nacional de Metrologia, Queretaro.
The workshop aimed to provide a critical overview of the key issues related to the safe and sustainable development and application of nanotechnology throughout its value chain. The main objectives were to foster a greater awareness of the challenges, identify the infrastructure needed to evaluate physical, health and environmental hazards based on the particular conditions in Mexico, exchange experience on the status of nanosafety statutory or regulatory guidelines, and summarize best practices for the safe use of engineered nanomaterials.
The workshop featured 15 talks from invited speakers from Mexico, Europe, Canada and the United States, as well as 12 posters from graduate student attendees, with a total of ~50 participants. The workshop covered the following 4 themes with a lengthy discussion period between speakers and the participants after each theme:
– Detection and characterization of nanomaterials as produced and in complex environments
– Transformation of NM in the environment and in consumer products
– Nanotoxicology methods and gaps for EHS
– Challenges for metrology, standardization and risk assessment
Support from the following organizations is gratefully acknowledged: IUPAC Divisions VI and VII, Centro Nacional de Metrologia, PTB (Germany), National Research Council Canada, Mexican Society of Materials, Mexican Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Network, Council of Science and Technology of Queretaro (CONCYTEQ) and by industrial exhibitors (Bruker, ISASA, Merck, Agilent, ThermoFisher Scientific and Perkin Elmer).
A workshop report has been prepared for distribution to participants and the task group is now working on a draft suitable for journal publication.
Nov 2018 update – A report on the IUPAC Workshop on Safety of Engineered Nano-materials (ENM) held on 28-29 September 2017, in Queretaro, Mexico, is published in CI Oct 2018, p. 28; https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2018-0415
March 2020 update – A Research paper entitled “Key challenges for evaluation of the safety of engineered nanomaterials”, by Linda J. Johnston, Norma Gonzalez-Rojano, Kevin J. Wilkinson, and Baoshan Xing, is published in NanoImpact, Vol 18, April 2020, 100219; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.impact.2020.100219
Jan 2021 update – project outcome featured in Chemistry International, vol. 43, no. 1, 2021, pp. 4-7. https://doi.org/10.1515/ci-2021-0102
Page last updated 22 Jan 2021