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CLU-IN Studio
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Nanoparticles: Human Toxicology and Risk Assessment
Sponsored by: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Superfund Basic Research Program
Original Time/Date of Presentation:

September 12, 2007, 1:00 PM - 3:30 PM, EDT (17:00-19:30 GMT)

Presentation Overview:

The NIEHS Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), presents "Nanoparticles: Human Toxicology and Risk Assessment." It is now recognized that the recent world-wide investment in new nanomaterials should be accompanied by parallel efforts to explore and understand their potential impacts on human health and the environment. By virtue of their small size, nanomaterials may penetrate biological membranes, enter cells, carry high concentrations of absorbed molecules, or show elevated surface reactivity relative to their macroscopic counterparts. Drs. Agnes Kane and Robert Hurt, Brown University, will introduce the emerging field of nanotoxicology and present results on carbon nanomaterials. The goal of this research is to identify the specific material features (size, shape, surface chemistry, purity) that are the underlying causes of toxicity. In addition, Dr. Kevin Dreher, EPA ORD, will explore how nanomaterials and their applications could have health implications arising from new routes of exposure and/or toxicities associated with direct exposure to these novel materials, by-products associated with their production/applications, or their interactions with the environment. He will describe the pulmonary and associated extra-pulmonary effects of nanomaterials to highlight the challenges of the health risk assessment of nanomaterials. Dr. Steve Roberts, University of Florida, will discuss potential difficulties in conducting traditional quantitative risk assessments for nanomaterials. Challenges in developing information to support each of the basic risk assessment steps — hazard identification, exposure assessment, dose-response assessment, and risk characterization — will be presented with examples. An overview of regulatory agency efforts to respond to these challenges will be provided. This is the seventh seminar in the Risk-e-Learning Series "Nanotechnology - Applications and Implications for Superfund." Previous seminars aired on CLU-IN January 18, 2007, February 13, 2007, March 15, 2007, April 19, 2007, May 31, 2007 & August 16, 2007; audio recordings are available through the CLU-IN archives.

Presenters: Instructor: Moderator:
  • Larry Whitson, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Contractor, MDB, Inc (
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