Physiologically Anchored Tools for Realistic Nanomaterial Hazard Assessment

Exposure to engineered nanomaterials poses a risk to human and environmental health. To date, hazard assessment studies conducted on ENMs have focused on short-term, high-dose exposures. However, in reality, exposure to nanomaterials is long-term, repetitive and occurs at low doses. 

International project PATROLS combined a team of academics, industrial scientists, government officials and risk assessors to deliver advanced and realistic tools and methods for nanomaterial safety assessment.  PATROLS was launched in January 2018 and was completed in July 2021. 24 partners, across Europe, the USA and Asia were involved.


PATROLS has provided an innovative and effective set of laboratory techniques and computational tools to more reliably predict potential human and environmental hazards resulting from longer-term engineered nanomaterial (ENM) exposures. These tools will minimise the necessity of animal testing and will support future categorisation of ENMs in order to support safety frameworks. Several publicly available deliverable reports, scientific papers, factsheets, webinars and a Standard Operating Protocol handbook for the in vitro assays can be found on the EU webpage. The final public meeting with all Stakeholders, entitled "Next-generation Approaches for Nanomaterial Human and Environmental Safety Assessment - Results from the PATROLS Project”, is available on YouTube.

RIVM role

PATROLS collected and interpreted data from long-term hazard assessment studies to determine which target organs and test concentrations need be used in in vitro test systems. This data has been used to predict toxic effects after long-term oral or inhalation exposure by using computer modelling. RIVM was involved in all aspects of the improvement of the safety assessment with a specific focus on developing an in vitro lung model.
RIVM Centres Sustainability, Environment and HealthSafety of Substances and Products and Health Protection were involved in the project. RIVM brought expertise regarding invitro models, computer modelling and bio-kinetics to the PATROLS project.  


This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 760813.