In a meeting with his friend, Andrew Maynard, director of the University of Michigan Risk Science Center, who had initiated the inventory when he was at the Wilson Center, Hull proposed leveraging Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science and VTSuN resources to improve the inventory.
"My role was to ask 'what if' and VTSuN ran with it," said Hull.
A partnership was formed and, with funding from the Virginia Tech institute, VTSuN restructured the inventory to improve the reliability, functionality, and scientific credibility of the database.
"Specifically, we added scientific significance and usefulness by including qualitative and quantitative descriptors for the products and the nanomaterials contained in these products, such as size, concentration, and potential exposure routes," said Quadros.
For example, an intentional exposure route would be the way a medicine is administered. An unintentional exposure would be when a child chews on a toy that has been treated with silver nanoparticles that are used as an antimicrobial.
The potential health effect of nanomaterials on children was Quadros doctoral research and she used the inventory to find products designed for children that use nanomaterials, such as plush toys.
"One of the best things about the new version of the inventory is the additional information and the ability to search by product type or the type of nanomaterial," she said. "When researchers were first attempting to assess the potential environmental impacts of nanotechnology, one main challenge was understanding how these nanomaterials might end up in the environment in the first place. After searching the CPI and seeing the vast applications of nanotechnologies in consumer products it was easier to narrow down scenarios.
|Contact: John Pastor|