Nanotechnology is a fast-growing industry producing a wide variety of manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) and numerous potential applications. Consequently, the potential for exposure to humans and the environment is likely to increase. Human exposure to MNMs and environmental release of these materials can occur during all the life cycle stages of these materials. For each stage of the life cycle of an MNM, exposure scenarios will need to be developed that effectively describe how exposure to humans and the environment occur and what measures are required to control the exposure.
The aim of the NANEX project was to develop a catalogue of generic and specific (occupational, consumer and environmental release) exposure scenarios for MNMs taking into account of the entire lifecycle of these materials. NANEX collected and reviewed available exposure information, focusing on three very relevant MNMs: (1) high aspect ratio nanomaterials- HARNs) (e.g. carbon nanotubes); (2) mass-produced nanomaterials (e.g. ZnO, TiO2, carbon black); and (3) specialized nanomaterials that are currently only produced on a small scale (e.g. Ag). The exposure information included both quantitative (measurement results) and qualitative contextual exposure information (risk management measures). The applicability of existing models for occupational and consumer exposure assessment and for environmental release from these scenarios were reviewed. A small number of specific case illustrations and a gap analysis of the available knowledge and data were carried out. The project knowledge was disseminated to relevant stakeholders, taking into account other relevant activities that were taking place in this field.