Hansen, S.F., Michelson, E.S., Kamper, A. et al. Ecotoxicology (2008) 17: 438. doi:10.1007/s10646-008-0210-4
Exposure assessment is crucial for risk assessment for nanomaterials. We propose a framework to aid exposure assessment in consumer products. We determined the location of the nanomaterials and the chemical identify of the 580 products listed in the inventory maintained by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, of which 37% used nanoparticles suspended in liquids, whereas <1% contained “free airborne nanoparticles”. C60 is currently only used as suspended nanoparticles in liquids and nanosilver is used more as surface bound nanoparticles than as particles suspended in liquids. Based on the location of the nanostructure we were able to further group the products into categories of: (1) expected, (2) possible, and (3) no expected exposure. Most products fall into the category of expected exposure, but we were not able to complete a quantitative exposure assessment mainly due to the lack of information on the concentration of the nanomaterial in the products—a problem that regulators and industry will have to address if we are to have realistic exposure assessment in the future. To illustrate the workability of our procedure, we applied it to four product scenarios using the best estimates available and/or worst-case assumptions. Using the best estimates available and/or worst-case assumptions we estimated the consumer exposure to be 26, 15, and 44 μg kg−1 bw year−1 for a facial lotion, a fluid product, and a spray product containing nanoparticles, respectively. The application of sun lotion containing 2% nanoparticles result in an exposure of 56.7 mg kg−1 bw d−1 for a 2-year-old child, if the amounts applied correspond to the European Commission recommendations on use of sunscreen.