On 25th October 2016, NFA hosted an international one day-meeting in Copenhagen to discuss results from the NANoREG project regarding identification and risk assessment of nanomaterials both in occupational and environmental settings, and the implications in a regulatory context. Around 50 participants attended representing administrative and regulatory authorities, industrial associations, trade unions, non-Governmental Organisations and other professionals in occupational and environmental safety.
The first session set the scene by addressing the innovation and growth potential of nanomaterials, as well as the potential risks. The results from the Danish Nanosafety Center and the “Better Control on nano” initiative were presented.
The focus in the key session was on the background and aim of NANoREG as well as the key answers and solutions developed in NANoREG. Among the main output is the NANoREG Toolbox. The Toolbox provides an overview of models, procedures and guidelines recommended by NANoREG for the safety assessment of nanomaterials. The tools are verified and accepted as tools to support decision-making. All tools are ready for use at the time of the Toolbox publication by the end of the project in 2017.
The following presentations provided insight to:
- Identification and characterization of manufactured nanomaterials
- Exposure assessment of manufactured nanomaterials
- Toxicological testing
- Overall risk assessment of safe-by-design tools.
A podium discussion rounded off the day. Here representatives from employers, trade unions and governmental authorities shared their views on the challenges of balancing innovation initiatives and safe use of nanomaterials and agreed upon the need for concerted action at European level.
Nanotechnology and nanomaterials are expected to be one of the key-enabling technologies for continuous growth in Europe. However, the innovative and economic potential of manufactured nanomaterials is threatened by a limited understanding and regulatory uncertainty related to human and environmental health and safety issues. The main reason is that companies and authorities lack accepted methods to identify nanomaterials and assess the possible risks nanomaterials may have on humans and the environment.
Through an interdisciplinary approach, engaging regulators, industry and scientists, the NANoREG project will provide answers and potential solutions to the questions posed by regulators.