Networking regarding the effect of nanomaterials on health and the environment

Project No. IFA 3122


completed 03/2012


NanoImpactNet is an FP7 network project. Its objective is to facilitate co-operation between the individual projects, communicate results between project partners, and assist in implementation of the EU Action Plan for Nanotechnology.

New technological developments enable materials in the nanometre range (< 100 mm) to be manufactured selectively. Nanomaterials have particular chemical, physical and bioactive properties. Some nanoparticles are able to pass barriers in the human body. This may be a useful property in certain medical applications, but at the same time it gives rise to concerns regarding their impact upon health and the environment.

Despite the latest developments in medical and toxicological research, it remains unclear precisely how nanomaterials interact with biological functions, and what parameters of the nanomaterials trigger these reactions. Concerns are growing regarding individual nanoparticles and nanorods (particles constrained in two dimensions), particularly with regard to the potential implications for safety, health and the environment. Evidence exists that some of these materials are able to pass tissue barriers (including the blood-brain barrier) and cell membranes, and of the formation of granulomatous tissue and other reactions to biological organisms that are harmful to health.

Little is known about the exposure of employees and consumers to nanomaterials, and the effectiveness of the existing health and safety measures for industrial processes and consumer products is disputed. This represents a challenge for estimation of the effects. Even less is known about the environmental behaviour and impact of nanomaterials. Clear gaps in knowledge therefore exist that must be addressed at European level as a matter of priority. This is important, since the existing environmental and health regulations may not be sufficient to assure that nanomaterials are used safely in the interests of human health.


The mission of NanoImpactNet is to assure a scientific basis for the safe and responsible development of nanotechnology and nanoparticle-based materials and products, and to support and define regulatory measures and their implementation in Europe. Better knowledge of the risks presented by nanomaterials to health and the environment is a sound basis for the avoidance of unnecessary harm and loss of investment and for facilitating sustainable development of the nanotechnology sector.

Co-ordination of measurement strategies and the use of instruments. Differentiation of ENMs and UFPs. Interpretation of database records; risk assessments; toxicological studies.


NanoImpactNet has contributed substantially to the formation of a research community that is now being maintained within the NanoSafetyCluster and the new FP7 QualityNano project.

Further information on the workshop reports can be found on the website.

Last Update:

20 Feb 2014


Financed by:
  • Europäische Kommission – Generaldirektion – Forschung und Innovation (RTD)
Research institution(s):
  • Institut für Arbeitsschutz der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung (IFA)

-cross sectoral-

Type of hazard:

dangerous substances


dust, fibers, particles, chemical working substances, exposure

Description, key words:

Nanoparticles, nanotechnology, working environment (strain, hazard, exposition, risk), harmonization, EU action plan, nanosafety, nano risk assessment, nanotoxicology


Further information

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