The National Nanotechnology Initiative announced that registration is now open for an October 16, 2015, webinar entitled “Nanosensor Technologies and Applications.” Dr. Meyya Meyyappan, Chief Scientist for Exploration Technology at NASA Ames Research Center, will lead the webinar. He will introduce basic mechanisms of nanosensing and terminologies, and will review the current status of nanosensor development and challenges for commercial applications. The webinar is supported by the Nanotechnology for Sensors and Sensors for Nanotechnology Signature Initiative. Webinar viewers will be able to submit questions during the question and answer period, as well as to firstname.lastname@example.org beginning a week before the date of the webinar through the end of the event.
On October 5, 2015, the European Union (EU) NanoSafety Cluster announced that the “Closer to the Market” Roadmap (CTTM) is available for final comments. The CTTM is intended to speed up the progress towards market implementation of nanotechnologies. The draft CTTM identifies key challenges to be tackled immediately and in a step-by-step approach: (1) build an inclusive collaboration network; (2) bring together scientific experts; (3) strengthen the dialog and exchange to raise synergies and safe resources; (4) implement a safety assessment framework supported by the regulatory initiatives; and (5) build service provider platforms that serve as consulting agencies assisting companies on their products’ way towards market implementation. Comments are due October 19, 2015.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) posted a new publication in its Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials, Preliminary Guidance Notes on Nanomaterials: Interspecies Variability Factors in Human Health Risk Assessment. The report includes the following recommendations for further work:
- The Expert Opinion prepared in support of the project noted a general lack of availability of data from repeated-dose toxicity studies in different species. In particular, studies of extended duration such as 90-day subchronic or chronic toxicity studies were only available for a minor part of the analyzed nanomaterials and routes of exposures. The majority of the compiled studies did not determine a no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) or a lowest-observed-adverse-effect level (LOAEL), and only few studies determined both. Further testing should be considered on a set of representative materials, with identical materials tested under comparable exposure conditions for various exposure times in different species; and
- Physiologically-based models are receiving increased attention in human health risk assessment. With the available data on lung burden following inhalation exposure to nanomaterials, a useful comparison of measured vs. predicted data has been possible in this project for rats, suggesting that further refinement of the multiple path particle dosimetry (MPPD) model is required before it can be applied to (sub)chronic scenarios. Unfortunately, corresponding information has not been available for humans, preventing comparisons between rats and humans.
The National Nanotechnology Coordination Office will host a series of webinars from October to December 2015 sponsored by federal agencies participating in the Nanotechnology Knowledge Infrastructure and Nanotechnology for Sensors and Sensors for Nanotechnology Signature Initiatives. The webinar series will include an introduction to nanoinformatics, an overview of nanosensor technology and applications, a regulatory case study for the development of nanosensors, and an overview of nanoinformatics applications. The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) encourages members of the nanotechnology business community, industry, non-governmental organizations, academia, and federal, state, and local governments to participate. Webinar viewers will be able to submit questions during each webinar for the panelists to answer during the question and answer period. The webinar “Introduction to Nanoinformatics” will be held October 2, 2015, and registration is now open. The webinars are free and open to the public. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and will be limited to 200 people.
The National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) announced on September 17, 2015, that the National Science Foundation (NSF) will provide a total of $81 million over five years to support 16 sites and a coordinating office as part of a new National Nanotechnology Coordinated Infrastructure (NNCI). The awards are for up to five years and range from $500,000 to $1.6 million each per year. Nine of the sites have at least one regional partner institution. The 16 sites are located in 15 states and involve 27 universities. The NNCI sites are intended to provide researchers from academia, government, and companies with access to university user facilities with leading-edge fabrication and characterization tools, instrumentation, and expertise within all disciplines of nanoscale science, engineering and technology. One of the newly awarded sites will be chosen to coordinate the facilities, including establishing a web portal to link the individual facilities’ websites to provide a unified entry point to the user community of overall capabilities, tools, and instrumentation. The new NNCI awards include:
- Mid-Atlantic Nanotechnology Hub for Research, Education and Innovation, University of Pennsylvania with partner Community College of Philadelphia, principal investigator (PI): Mark Allen;
- Texas Nanofabrication Facility, University of Texas at Austin, PI: Sanjay Banerjee;
- Northwest Nanotechnology Infrastructure, University of Washington with partner Oregon State University, PI: Karl Bohringer;
- Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor, Georgia Institute of Technology with partners North Carolina A&T State University and University of North Carolina-Greensboro, PI: Oliver Brand;
- Midwest Nano Infrastructure Corridor, University of Minnesota Twin Cities with partner North Dakota State University, PI: Stephen Campbell;
- Montana Nanotechnology Facility, Montana State University with partner Carlton College, PI: David Dickensheets;
- Soft and Hybrid Nanotechnology Experimental Resource, Northwestern University with partner University of Chicago, PI: Vinayak Dravid;
- The Virginia Tech National Center for Earth and Environmental Nanotechnology Infrastructure, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, PI: Michael Hochella;
- North Carolina Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network, North Carolina State University with partners Duke University and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, PI: Jacob Jones;
- San Diego Nanotechnology Infrastructure, University of California, San Diego, PI: Yu-Hwa Lo;
- Stanford Site, Stanford University, PI: Kathryn Moler;
- Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility, Cornell University, PI: Daniel Ralph;
- Nebraska Nanoscale Facility, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, PI: David Sellmyer;
- Nanotechnology Collaborative Infrastructure Southwest, Arizona State University with partners Maricopa County Community College District and Science Foundation Arizona, PI: Trevor Thornton;
- The Kentucky Multi-scale Manufacturing and Nano Integration Node, University of Louisville with partner University of Kentucky, PI: Kevin Walsh; and
- The Center for Nanoscale Systems at Harvard University, Harvard University, PI: Robert Westervelt.
On September 14, 2015, the European Commission (EC) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) posted a request from the EC for a scientific opinion on titanium dioxide (nano) as a UV-filter in sunscreens and personal care spray products. In 2013, the SCCS issued an opinion on titanium dioxide (nano), and concluded that titanium dioxide (nano), at a concentration up to 25 percent, can be considered not to pose any risk of adverse effects in humans after application on healthy, intact, or sunburned skin. At the time, the SCCS stated that, on the basis of available information, the use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles in spray products could not be considered safe. In 2014, the SCCS issued an opinion clarifying the meaning of the term “sprayable application/products” for the nano forms of carbon black CI 77266, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide. In the 2014 opinion, the SCCS stated that its concern was limited to spray applications that might lead to the consumer’s lungs being exposed to titanium dioxide nanoparticles by inhalation. According to the request for an opinion posted on September 14, 2015, in July 2015, the EC received new data from industry to support the safe use of titanium dioxide (nano) when used as a UV-filter in sunscreens and personal care spray products at a concentration up to 5.5 percent. The request asks the SCCS:
- In light of the data provided, does the SCCS consider titanium dioxide (nano) safe when used as a UV-filter in sunscreens and personal care spray products at a concentration up to 5.5 percent; and
- Does the SCCS have any further scientific concerns regarding the use of titanium dioxide (nano) when used as a UV-filter in sunscreens and personal care spray products.
The Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, the FPS Employment, Labor and Social Dialogue, and the FPS Economy, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME), Self-Employed and Energy will hold a workshop on “Nano in Belgium” on October 22, 2015. The workshop will focus on nano research, and the agencies encourage representatives from Belgian research institutes, universities, and industries to participate by either posters or oral presentation. The main goal is to improve networking between scientists, industry, and regulators in Belgium, thus improving Belgian participation in nano research and regulatory developments at the European level. Participation is free, but registration is required. The deadline for registration is September 21, 2015.
The European Commission (EC) invites scientists to apply for membership in its non-food scientific committees, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) and Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER). SCCS and SCHEER provide the EC with “high quality and independent risk assessment and scientific advice in the areas of public health, consumer safety and environmental risks.” SCCS provides opinions on questions concerning health and safety risks of non-food consumer products such as cosmetic products and their ingredients, including nanomaterials. SCHEER provides opinions on questions concerning health, environmental, and emerging risks, including potential risks associated with new technologies such as nanotechnologies. Applications are due November 2, 2015.
This week, Belgium’s Federal Public Service for Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment created an online portal for companies to register nanomaterials they put on the market. Nanosubstances must be registered before January 1, 2016. Mixtures containing such substances must be registered before January 1, 2017. Belgium has posted several documents to help companies determine whether they must register:
- Who has to register? The answer is given in a schematic way, with a decision tree for substances and a decision tree for mixtures. According to the document, the main difference between the decision trees follows from the exemption made in Article 1.8 of the Royal Decree: “The provisions of this Decree shall not apply to . . . pigments, when placed on the market in a mixture, an article or a complex object.” The following products are exempt from registration: biocide; medicinal products for human or veterinary use; products intended to come into contact with foodstuff; animal feed; and technological aid or other products that may be used for processing ingredients of agricultural origin.
- When do I have to register? Existing substances produced in nanoparticular state that are already on the market before January 1, 2016, must be registered before January 1, 2016. Existing mixtures containing substances produced in nanoparticular state that are already on the market before January 1, 2017, must be registered before January 1, 2017. New substances produced in nanoparticular state after January 1, 2016, and mixtures containing such substances after January 1, 2017, must be registered before being placed on the market.
- Which type of account? Creating an account gives users access to the registration tool and allows the submission of one or more registrations.
- Which type of registration? A foreign supplier can submit only one type of registration, namely the inverse (of the limited) registration. A registrant or a representative can submit different types of registrations, depending on whether the registration concerns a substance or a mixture; a first registration or an annual update; a registration using a previous registration number; or a product that is used exclusively within the framework of scientific research and development or within the framework of product and process-oriented research and development.
- Registration — which info? This document aims to guide users through the registration process and to provide an overview of the information that will be asked during this process.
On August 19, 2015, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) announced appeals of its March 11, 2015, decision on substance evaluation for silicon dioxide. Case A-015-2015 was filed by Evonik Degussa GmbH and 34 others, while Case A-014-2015 was filed by Grace GmbH & Co. KG and Advanced Refining Technologies GmbH. The appellants in Case A-015-2015 challenge ECHA’s decision to include silicon dioxide on the Community Rolling Action Plan (CoRAP) “due to initial grounds for concern relating to ‘the substance characterisation, nanoparticles and toxicity of different forms of the substance.’” The appellants argue that none of the alleged grounds for concern are criteria for inclusion of a substance on the CoRAP, and as a result, ECHA’s decision to include silicon dioxide on the CoRAP was adopted in breach of Article 44 of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation and must be set aside. In addition, the appellants claim further that, since the decision to include the substance on the CoRAP was illegal and must be set aside, the March 11, 2015, decision lacks legal basis as only substances appearing on the CoRAP can be evaluated. In Case A-014-2015, the appellants’ arguments include: “The Agency has based its decision very largely on its own classification of [synthetic amporphous silica] as a nanomaterial, a classification that the Agency is not empowered to make and that in any event is irrelevant to the toxicity of [synthetic amporphous silica].” In the March 11, 2015, decision, ECHA requires silicon dioxide registrants to provide specified data by March 20, 2017.