EDF Health

On the Road to In Vitro Testing: Are We There Yet?

John BalbusJohn Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

EPA’s recently released draft Nanotechnology Research Strategy (NRS) proposes a tiered testing system to evaluate human toxicity of nanomaterials.  It puts in vitro tests, or those done in test tubes and petri dishes as opposed to living animals, front and center.  EPA says the results of the first, in vitro tier will be used for guidance on “what health endpoints to monitor” and the second, in vivo tier will then help “identify those in vitro assays that correlate with in vivo nanomaterial toxicity or health effects.”

Wait a second.  If the in vivo testing is necessary in order to figure out what the in vitro testing results really mean, how can the agency use the in vitro testing results to figure out what health endpoints to monitor?  This cart and horse confusion is a serious matter. Read More »

Posted in Emerging Testing Methods, Health Science, Nanotechnology / Tagged , , | Read 1 Response

Nanoparticles on the brain?

John BalbusJohn Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

It’s been a worry for engineered nanoparticles. Now, a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (Suglia et al., 2008) is the first to suggest that particulate air pollution not only damages the lungs and heart, but also may damage the developing brain.

Researchers measured cognitive function in over 200 children in Boston in relation to their residential exposure to traffic-related air pollution by measuring airborne carbon black particles. They found the IQ-lowering effect of higher exposure is comparable to a pregnant mother smoking 10 cigarettes a day or moderate lead exposure. Read More »

Posted in Emerging Science, Health Science, Nanotechnology / Tagged , | Read 3 Responses

Welcome!

John BalbusJohn Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.

Welcome to our new blog, Nanotechnology Notes.

EDF’s TeamNano – Cal Baier-Anderson, Richard Denison, Scott Walsh, and myself – will use this space to comment regularly on nanotechnology news and events, with a focus on environmental, health, and safety issues. Check back often for our viewpoints on a range of topics related to research, policy, regulation and oversight, and business implications of this new technology.

We invite your comments and look forward to your feedback! And please let your colleagues and friends know about our new blog.

Posted in Nanotechnology / Comments are closed