Technological advances allow the targeted production of objects and materials in the nanoscale (smaller than 100 nm). Nanomaterials have chemical, physical and bioactive characteristics, which are different from those of larger entities of the same materials. Nanoparticles can pass through body barriers. This is interesting for medical applications, but it raises concerns about their health and environmental impact. The objective of the NanoImpactNet was to create a scientific basis to ensure the safe and responsible development of engineered nanoparticles and nanotechnology-based materials and products, and to support the definition of regulatory measures and implementation of legislation in Europe.
It included a strong two-way communication to ensure efficient dissemination of information to stakeholders and the European Commission, while at the same time obtaining input from the stakeholders about their needs and concerns. Discussions about strategies and methodologies were initiated through well-prepared workshops covering the WP topics. External researchers and stakeholders were invited to participate, and following these workshops, the researchers collaboratively produced thorough reports and sets of guidelines reflecting the consensus reached. The leading European research groups (at the time) with activities in nanosafety, nanorisk assessment, and nanotoxicology were represented in NanoImpactNet. All exposure routes, major disease classes and impact assessment approaches were represented within the network. It helped implement the EU Actionplan for Nanotechnology and support a responsible and safe development of nanotechnologies in Europe.