On March 6, 2009, the United Kingdom (UK) Health and Safety Executive (HSE) published an information sheet on the risk management of carbon nanotubes (CNT). According to HSE, the information sheet “is specifically about the manufacture and manipulation of carbon nanotubes and has been prepared in response to emerging evidence about the toxicology of these materials. However, the risk management principles detailed here are equally applicable to other nanodimensioned bio-persistent fibres with a similar aspect ratio.” HSE cites as “new evidence” a recent study by the University of Edinburgh, which “found that long, straight [multi-walled CNTs] with a high aspect ratio produced a marked inflammatory reaction and the formation of granulomas when injected into the abdominal cavity of mice.”

Continue Reading HSE Publishes Information Sheet Regarding the Risk Management of CNTs

On November 12, 2008, the United Kingdom (UK) Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) published a report entitled Novel Materials in the Environment: The Case of Nanotechnology, which examines issues related to innovation in the materials sector and the challenges and benefits arising from the introduction of nanomaterials. According to RCEP, there is an “urgent need for more testing, extending existing governance arrangements and creating new arrangements concerning nanomaterials.”  The report was prompted by concerns about potential releases to the environment from industrial applications of metals and minerals that have not previously been widely used. The RCEP states that, as the majority of the evidence it received was almost entirely focused on manufactured nanomaterials, it decided to focus on this sector as an exemplar. The report includes recommendations on how to address “ignorance and uncertainty in this area, which could also be applied to other areas of fast-paced technological development.”

Continue Reading UK RCEP Releases Latest Report on Nanotechnology

On October 17, 2008, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) began a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion in relation to nanoscience and nanotechnologies and food and feed safety.  EFSA’s draft opinion focuses on engineered nano materials (ENM) that could be deliberately introduced into the food chain and elaborates on approaches to risk assessment. EFSA states that it “is not an assessment of any specific application of ENM.” According to EFSA, the European Commission (EC) requested the opinion “as a first step because consideration needs to be given as to whether existing risk assessment approaches can be appropriately applied to this new technology.”  EFSA states that its final opinion “will then help the EC to explore appropriate measures, assess existing legislation and determine the scope of possible further requests for scientific opinions from EFSA in this field.” Comments are due December 1, 2008.

Continue Reading EFSA Consults on Draft Opinion on Nanotechnologies and Food and Feed Safety

On October 8, 2008, the European Commission (EC) published a regulation amending the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Annex IV to remove carbon and graphite. Although the substances were originally listed in Annex IV, meaning they were exempt from REACH requirements because they were considered to be of minimum risk because of their

On September 10, 2008, the European Commission (EC) requested companies to submit data “with regard to all substances used at nano-scale and the final [cosmetic] products in which they are used.” Citing the December 18, 2007, opinion of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products concerning the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetic products and the June 22, 2007, opinion of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly-Identified Health Risks regarding the appropriateness of the risk assessment methodology in assessing the risks of nanomaterials, the EC states that “there is an urgent need for closing the information gap and even the methodological gap with regard to nanomaterials in cosmetics.  Without these gaps being closed, it will, in the medium term, be hardly defendable for industry and authorities to assert that cosmetic products containing nanomaterials are safe.”

Continue Reading EC Requests Voluntary Submission of Data on Nanoparticles in Cosmetics

On June 17, 2008, the European Commission (EC) issued a press release entitled “Commission starts public dialogue on nanotechnologies — tapping economic and environmental potential through safe products.” According to the EC, while current European Union (EU) legislation “covers in principle” the environment, health, and safety issues concerning nanomaterials, “there is further need for

On May 19, 2008, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) posted its sixth quarterly report on the Voluntary Reporting Scheme (VRS) for engineered nanoscale materials. According to the report, DEFRA received no new submissions this quarter, and to date has received only nine submissions since the VRS’s launch in September 2006:  seven from

On March 11, 2008, the German Chemical Industry Association (VCI) released a report entitled Responsible Production and Use of Nanomaterials, which is a series of documents intended to provide guidance on all aspects of a good product stewardship on nanomaterials. The documents include joint papers prepared by VCI and the German Federal Institute for Occupational

On March 12, 2008, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released a supplementary guidance document for the Voluntary Reporting Scheme (VRS). DEFRA prepared the supplementary guidance document to complement the existing VRS guidance. Chapter 2 describes the rationale and benefits of the VRS. Chapter 3 provides a specific list of the relevant physical, chemical,

On April 17-18, 2008, the European Commission (EC) will hold a workshop on research on the safety of nanomaterials. The main objectives of the workshop are:

  • To increase interactions between researchers to enhance networking, sharing of outcomes of the research projects, and boosting synergies between research groups across Europe and abroad;
  • To improve communication of the