Vladimir Gubala, Linda J. Johnston, Harald F. Krug, Colin J. Moore, Christopher K. Ober, Michael Schwenk, and Michel Vert
Pure and Applied Chemistry 2018Volume 90, Issue 8, pp. 1325–1356
Research on engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has progressed rapidly from the very early stages of studying their unique, size-dependent physicochemical properties and commercial exploration to the development of products that influence our everyday lives. We have previously reviewed various methods for synthesis, surface functionalization, and analytical characterization of ENM in a publication titled “Engineered Nanomaterials: Preparation, Functionalization and Characterization.” In this second, inter-linked document, we first provide an overview of important applications of ENM in products relevant to human healthcare and consumer goods, such as food, textiles, and cosmetics. We then highlight the challenges for the design and development of new ENM for bio-applications, particularly in the rapidly developing nanomedicine sector. The second part of this document is dedicated to nanotoxicology studies of ENM in consumer products. We describe the various biological targets where toxicity may occur, summarize the four nanotoxicology principles, and discuss the need for careful consideration of the biodistribution, degradation, and elimination routes of nanosized materials before they can be safely used. Finally, we review expert opinions on the risk, regulation, and ethical aspects of using engineered nanomaterials in applications that may have direct or indirect impact on human health or our environment.