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Our scientists draw upon several disciplines to assess the risk of engineered nanomaterials and provide sustainable solutions:  


Nanotoxicology is the study of the toxicity of nanomaterials.  Because of their quantum size effects and physicochemistry, nanomaterials have unique properties compared with their larger counterparts.  Understanding what aspects of these unique properties influence nanomaterial compatibility with or toxicity to biological systems requires a multidisciplinary approach.  Cardno ChemRisk scientists with expertise in toxicology, chemistry, material science, exposure assessment, sampling and analysis have evaluated the health effects and biological interactions that occur in a range of organ systems following exposure to a variety of nanomaterials (including carbon, metal and polymer-based).  Cardno ChemRisk can also draw upon the 20+ years of experience conducting hazard assessments for nearly all chemical categories, including metals, VOCs, SVOCs, reactive organic monomers, and those classified as Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT).  Our assessments have regularly been published and used by stakeholders in the scientific community to determine occupational, environmental, and human health-based screening criteria, such as DNEL and PNEC required under the EU REACH regulation, TRVs for Canada, and RfDs/RfCs for the United States.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:27

Medical and Biological Monitoring

Medical surveillance is used to detect early signs of illness and disease, and biomonitoring has become a prevalent method for identifying groups of people exposed to chemicals and at a potential health risk. Although specific medical testing of people working with nanomaterials has not yet been recommended, government organizations have supported health surveillance as an important part of an effec­tive risk management program. Cardno ChemRisk scientists have designed programs and published studies on medical monitoring and evaluated such data to determine potential sources of exposure and to evaluate the association between chemical exposure and health risk.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:27

Nanomaterial Physicochemistry and Material Science

The physical and chemical characteristics (physicochemistry) of nanomaterials can dictate the difference between biocompatibility and toxicity.  Nanomaterial size, surface chemistry, reactivity, and morphology are some of the factors that allow these materials to be utilized in therapeutics in one application or be considered an industrial hazard in another application.  Cardno ChemRisk scientists have conducted studies and are abreast of the current state-of-the-science involving methods of nanomaterial characterization and aspects of material science that influence biological responses and fate and transport.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:28

Exposure Assessment

A broad range of exposure scenarios need to be assessed to understand the risks associated with a product throughout its lifecycle – including industrial, environmental and consumer use settings.  Cardno ChemRisk scientists have a history of developing comprehensive exposure scenarios that address the full range of media (air, water, soil and sediment), target groups (vulnerable sub-populations including children and pregnant women, consumers and workers) and routes of exposure (oral, inhalation and dermal).  We have published more than 500 papers describing methodologies for using models, empirical data, simulation studies or surveys to characterize exposures attributable to the workplace, indoor and outdoor ambient environment, industrial materials and other consumer products.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 07:20

Aerosol Science

Because of their size and large surface area-to-volume ratio, characterizing nanomaterial exposures present a number of unique challenges.  Cardno ChemRisk has conducted a number of industrial and experimental study sampling and analysis surveys using sophisticated instrumentation and expertise in aerosol science to assess the size, structure, surface chemistry and morphology of airborne nanomaterials.  This information, along with a range of exposure metrics (mass, number and surface concentrations), has been used to understand the relationship between exposure and health effects of different nanomaterials.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:28

Industrial Hygiene

With global occupational health and safety guidelines emerging for nanotechnology, questions continue to be raised across industries about the best health and safety practices that should be utilized for processes involving nanomaterials.  Cardno ChemRisk industrial hygienists have conducted hundreds of workplace assessments using state-of-the-art tools to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and, where necessary, recommend appropriate controls for workplace health and safety risks.  Through collaboration with industrial hygienists, safety professionals, engineers, toxicologists, physicians and other scientists, we have used these tools to evaluate and recommend approaches for exposure characterization, control, hazard communication, health and safety program development and management for a variety of industries, including those utilizing nanomaterials.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:28

Biological and Environmental Fate and Transport Modeling

Knowing the potential for a chemical to be released from a product or into a workplace or environmental setting is a key component of the risk assessment process.  The physicochemistry of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products can greatly influence their biological and environmental fate and transport.  Cardno ChemRisk engineers employ a variety of state-of- the-art- tools to evaluate or predict the movement of chemicals in environmental and occupational settings, as well as biological systems.  These include screening models such as ECETOC-TRA, E-Fast and SCREEN 3 which give a general sense of the potential for chemical release, and higher tier models such as EUSES, ConsEXPO and AIRMOD, which provide a more precise understanding.  Cardno ChemRisk scientists also utilize Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) models to assess the biological fate and transport of chemicals to target tissues.  These models allow Cardno ChemRisk scientists to evaluate a wide variety of conditions associated with chemical and product life cycles and to understand where risk management measures may be most effective.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:29


Epidemiology studies are often the basis for concluding that a chemical causes certain health effects in exposed populations.  With governmental guidelines being published for medical screening and hazard surveillance of occupational settings involving nanomaterials, such health information will likely be utilized in future epidemiologic studies.  Epidemiologists at Cardno ChemRisk have designed, conducted and interpreted the results of dozens of epidemiology studies to understand the foundation of hazard assessments for numerous chemicals.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:29

Chemical Regulations

With the use of nano-enabled technologies growing nearly exponentially, and billions being invested in basic research and R&D, government regulatory programs to manage the human health and environmental health risks of nanomaterials are emerging both in the U.S. and internationally. Many of these new regulatory frameworks will require chemical and product manufacturers (as well as entities in their supply chains) to collect and report extraordinary amounts of data that are likely unique to nanomaterials. Cardno ChemRisk scientists are experienced in helping companies proactively understand and comply with the new and forthcoming regulations.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 September 2012 11:29