Nanomaterials and nanotechnology have become part of everyday life having being applied in various areas such as: pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food packaging, infrastructure, energy production and storage, environmental protection, consumer products, manufacturing and more.
The synthesis, characterisation and application of nanomaterials requires handling and control at the atomic scale, leading to materials having specific properties (e.g. high surface area) due to their small size. Although such properties allow the design and application of products that can facilitate everyday life and advance certain areas like healthcare, manufacturing and environmental quality, they can also have negative effects if they are not appropriately produced and handled. At the same time, their fate, potential releases and effects with the environment need to be closely monitored to ensure no adverse effect for the environment and everyday quality of life. To achieve this the proper policies and regulations need to be implemented, through responsible risk governance, and the adoption of novel safer by design approaches.
The NSC as an expert body is collaborating strongly with EU (ECHA, CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) and international (OECD, ISO) regulatory and standardisation bodies providing expert advice, guidance and data to facilitate such decisions.
Such actions may include the revision of the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations to include nano-specific characterisations and the European Commission’s Mandate M/461, which requires CEN to develop a series of nano-specific deliverables by the end of 2018 and involves international bodies like ISO and IEC.
At international level, the NSC projects are contributing significant data to facilitate the revision of various nano-related OECD guidelines (Malta Initiative) and benefit all stakeholders (citizens, industry, regulators, researchers). The NSC projects will be sharing expert knowledge and opinion and host or organise workshops bringing together all relevant stakeholders. Currently the NSC is identifying the most relevant projects and the regulations they can contribute at and is organising and expert workshop on 30 October 2018, Vienna, Austria to provide guidance on projects on the optimal guidance development.