Brown SRP researchers are working to understand potential inhalation health risks associated with new synthetic sheet-like materials. These “2D nanomaterials” are a broad class of atomically thin particles that are now serving as building blocks for a wide range of emerging technologies. Very little is known about the human health effects of these new materials, and the class contains hundreds of distinct chemical substances, which creates significant challenges for obtaining the necessary safety data in a timely and cost-effective manner.
A biomedical-engineering team led by SRP post-doctoral trainees Evan Gray and Cynthia Browning, together with Agnes Kane (Project 2) and Robert Hurt (Project 4), published a framework and methodology for rapid hazard screening of 2D materials (Gray et al., 2018). The methodology uses measurements of biodissolution in specially designed reactive media coupled with in vitro toxicity tests to classify materials into four hazard categories. This process can inform and accelerate 2D material safety assessment, and the article includes an experimental case study that demonstrates the methodology. The article is being featured by the journal, Environmental Science Nano, in a recent collection of their highest quality publications.