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Development of a real-time information and monitoring system to support the risk assessment of nanomaterials under REACH (LIFE NanoMOnitor)
Start date: Jan 1, 2016, End date: Dec 31, 2018 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Background Nanotechnology is one of the fastest growing and most promising technologies with implications for a wide range of sectors from electronics and ceramics to optics and automation. The number of Engineered Nanomaterials (ENMs) available on the market is increasing, but concerns have been raised about their potential impacts on human health and the environment. Nanostructured materials can be released into the environment at each stage of their lifecycle (production, use and disposal), endangering the health of living organisms and ecosystems. Nevertheless, production of the most representative ENMs is expected to increase. Global demand of ENMs is around 11.5 million tonnes, with a market value of roughly €20 billion. REACH regulation states that risk assessments for pollutants should be based on a comparison between the predicted level of exposure (PEC) and the predicted no effect concentration levels (PNEC). It therefore follows that estimates of the environmental concentrations nanomaterials are required in order to assess their risk. For ENMs to be registered in compliance with REACH a complete environmental risk assessment must be carried out. Objectives The overall aim of LIFE NanoMONITOR is to improve the use of environmental monitoring data to support the implementation of REACH regulation and promote the protection of human health and the environment when dealing with ENMs. The key objectives are to develop: Standard operating procedures (SOPs) to collect and analyse ENMs in complex industrial, urban and natural environments; and An online information system composed of two integrated elements, a software application to capture, store and exchange data on the concentration of ENMs, and a new low-cost monitoring station prototype to support the outdoor and indoor monitoring of airborne nano-pollutants. Specific objectives of the project are to: Develop a new software application to support the acquisition, management and processing of data on the concentration of ENMs; Design and develop a proven monitoring station prototype for continuous monitoring of particles below 100 nm in air (PM0.1), combining advanced data acquisition technologies with newly developed technologies to allow continuous operation; Design and develop standardised sampling and data analysis procedures to ensure the quality, comparability and reliability of the monitoring data used for risk assessment; Support the calculation of the predicted environmental concentration (PEC) of ENMs in the context of REACH; Contribute to the consolidation of the knowledge base on the hazard and exposure potential of ENMs; and Support the monitoring of REACH compliance and its impact on risk mitigation and prevention. The data generated will contribute to the calculation of PEC values. Expected results: An online software application to support the data processing in real time; A database containing information on the concentration of ENMs; A proven low-cost monitoring station prototype; Demonstration of the operability and robustness of the software application and the monitoring; Stations in eight case studies; Publication of a list of 10 standardised protocols and guidance for monitoring, collecting and sampling of airborne ENMs; A complete guidance on the use of environmental monitoring data under REACH including detailed decision trees to support the use of monitoring data; New information on tonnage levels and release rates to air, surface, fresh and marine water, wastewater and soil of relevant ENMs; New knowledge on the airborne behaviour of the target ENMs, including new data on their aggregation/agglomeration patterns and deposition factors; A structured compendium of free ‘webinars’ (online seminars) and workshops to support the training of end-users and stakeholders; The evaluation of the effectiveness of the risk management measures used by industrial facilities to control emissions of nano-pollutants leading to a minimum 10% reduction in release; and The identification of non-natural nanomaterials in the environment, as well as the characterisation of key properties for risk assessment such as persistence and bioaccumulation – leading to a minimum 15% reduction in the use of ENMs classified as environmentally hazardous.

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