ICCM3 Adds Measures Concerning Nanotechnologies And Manufactured Nanomaterials To Global Plan Of Action

During the Third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3), which was held September 17-21, 2012, participants agreed to add the measures concerning nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials to the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Global Plan of Action. The measures include “exploring the development of registers/inventories and/or market assessment activities of manufactured nanomaterials,” and “promoting the availability of information on the presence of manufactured nanomaterials within the product supply chain and throughout the life cycle, which could include possible labelling, consistent with relevant international obligations, and/or other forms of guidance relating to consumer products containing manufactured nanomaterials.” Participants also agreed to a resolution to continue work on manufactured nanomaterials as an “emerging policy issue” under SAICM, and to develop international technical and regulatory guidance and training materials for their sound management.  The Resolution invites the United Nations (UN) Committees of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) to review the applicability of the GHS criteria to manufactured nanomaterials and, if necessary, to prepare a work plan for adapting them.

SAICM Will Publish Comments on Adding Nanotechnology Activities to Global Plan of Action

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Secretariat is expected to publish this month comments on Switzerland’s proposal that activities relating to nanotechnology be added to the SAICM Global Plan of Action.  The proposal would include a new work area on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, with corresponding activities, actors, and targets. The Secretariat will compile the comments to inform discussion at the third International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM3), which will be held September 17-21, 2012. The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) submitted detailed comments on the proposal.

SAICM Secretariat Seeks Input for Report

The Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) Secretariat seeks input from stakeholders by May 1, 2011, for a forthcoming report on nanotechnologies and manufactured nanomaterials, which will focus on issues relevant to developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The report will include ten sections, covering beneficial uses of nanomaterials for health and the environment; economic and social impact; and work of international organizations. A section on risk assessment and management will focus on seven subtopics, including material characterization and risk management across the life cycle. The SAICM Secretariat intends to prepare a report based on the input it receives for consideration at the Open-Ended Working Group meeting, scheduled for August 29-September 2, 2011, in Belgrade, Serbia.

South Korea Includes Nanosubstances in Ten-Year Plan

The South Korean Ministry of Environment released on January 18, 2011, the National Chemicals Control Basic Plan, which it intends to help it implement the United Nations’ sustainable chemical control rules under the 2006 Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). According to the Ministry, the Plan will reduce the amount of human carcinogens released into the environment annually by 32 percent by 2020, and will expand the national toxicity information database by 2020 to cover 34,000 chemical substances, or 80 percent of some 43,000 known to be in circulation, up from the current level of 15 percent. Under the Plan, nanosubstances are among priority chemicals that will be subject to in-depth hazard assessment, exposure analysis, and safety studies.

African Governments Adopt Resolution Urging Safe Handling of Nanomaterials

The January 25-29, 2010, African regional meeting on the implementation of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) included a workshop on nanotechnology. During the meeting, 53 governments adopted a resolution that calls for a ban on the shipment of waste containing nanomaterials to countries that cannot adequately manage them; legal provisions to ensure the safe use and disposal of nanomaterials; and bio-monitoring for people exposed to nanomaterials. Importantly, it is not clear what exactly waste “containing nanomaterials” includes. The resolution also calls on governments to adopt a “no data, no market” principle, which requires comprehensive hazard assessment information to be submitted before a nanotechnology can be commercialized. The resolution is not binding and recognizes the right of countries to allow the import and use of nanomaterials, but urges that a precautionary approach be taken.