Engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) are being produced at an increasing rate. Because of their unique physicochemical properties, ENMs have been used in a wide variety of commercial products. The specific properties of ENMs, such as their relatively larger surface area, however, could also cause adverse biological effects different from their bulk counterparts. Nanomaterials can be genotoxic while their bulk counterparts are not, or vice versa, due to these specific characteristics. Also, the differences between nanomaterials and bulk materials can generate uncertainty when measuring the genotoxic potential of ENMs using current genotoxicity assays that were developed for conventional chemicals or bulk materials. In this chapter, we summarize current progress in evaluating the genotoxicity of ENMs with a focus on results from the standard genotoxicity assays, possible mechanisms underlying the genotoxicity of ENMs, the suitability of current genotoxicity assays for evaluation of ENMs, and application of ENM genotoxicity data for risk assessment. Future perspectives for the evaluation of ENM genotoxicity are also addressed.
Part of the book: Nanomaterials