Several themes were explored by The Emerging Nanoscale Materials Specialty Group (ENMSG) of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA) co-organized by Jo Anne Shatkin and Kimberly Ong with a wonderful team of collaborators in a 2014 workshop on the use of alternate testing strategies (ATS) for risk assessment of nanomaterials. During this workshop, three topical areas were discussed: use of ATS for human health risk assessment, improving daily exposure relevance of dosing in ATS, and the use of ATS for ecological risk assessment. The results of the workshop, and related findings from an OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) project were reported on in a Special Series of papers in the SRA Journal Risk Analysis.
The use of a nanomaterials is becoming increasingly popular in the technology, industrial, and consumer products sectors. Due to the variances of characteristics and compositions of nanomaterials, "uncertainties in translating mass base dosimetry to relevant nanoscale variables to establish quantitative dose/response relationships" and the global push to decrease animal testing in risk analysis assessments, traditional risk analysis assessments cannot be used. For this reason ATS is becoming increasingly more appealing for nanomaterial testing. Many agencies such as the European Chemical Agency discourages the use of animal testing and calls for it only "as a last resort". For this reason, increasing efforts are being made to use more in vitro techniques for toxicity testing as opposed to in vivo testing.
For more information regarding, "key issues for adoption and set a path for increased acceptance of ATS in risk assessment and regulatory decision making”, please refer to “Advancing Risk Analysis for Nanomaterials: Report from an International Workshop on the Role of Alternative Testing Strategies.” Vicki Stone et al. addresses some of the current issues with using ATS in the manuscript, “Approaches to Develop Alternative Testing Strategies to Inform Human Health Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials”. Exposure issues are examined in Sharma et al., “Framework to Evaluate Exposure Relevance and Data Needs for Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials using in Vitro Testing Strategies.“ Current issues, status, and opportunities are explored in Shatkin and Ong’s “Alternative Testing Strategies for Nanomaterials: State of the Science and Considerations for Risk Analysis.”