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Posted: February 16, 2010

Communication tools for nanomaterial products along the value chain

(Nanowerk News) Companies producing goods that contain nanomaterials need to find tools that will allow them to transfer information about the risk management of such materials down the supply chain. Christoph Meili offers his thoughts on one way this could be done in the February issue of Chemicalwatch. The transfer of information on risks and hazards of manufactured nanomaterials along the value chain remains one of the key issues which the industry must have a vital interest to tackle in a timely and responsible way.
Up to date, the common way of information exchange (only one-sided) is the material safety data sheet (MSDS), which is commonly regarded as inadequate in its current form to enable downstream users to install adequate safety measures regarding manufactured nanomaterials. The adaptation of the MSDS has also been one of the key topics of this year's NanoRegulation Conference in Rapperswil, Switzerland (final report available here – pdf download).
Christoph Meili describes in the article (pdf download) the “nano information pyramid” which would provide a framework for information exchange and which could illustrate and satisfy the needs of different stakeholders along the value chain.
With CENARIOS, the certifiable nanospecific risk management and monitoring system, the Innovation Society and TÜV SÜD offer a set of tools which are designed to address some of the most pressing problems concerning the information transfer along the value chain. CENARIOS is built around so-called risk assessment sheets (RAS) which serve as a comprehensive state-of-the-art documentation of the available knowledge on the possible hazards of a nanotechnology-enabled product along the defined life-cycle. These RAS are perfectly suited to be used as a basis to face documentation requirements under REACH and to implement the necessary information about manufactured nanomateials into MSDS.
The risk monitoring, as a unique approach to observe and document the rapidly growing knowledge and the environment of a product, provides up to date input into a company's strategic risk management and decision making process.
Accoring to Meili, companies producing or handling nanomaterials should use appropriate risk management tools to prevent liability claims and to meet the criteria that a responsible development and use of nanotechnologies requires.
Source: Innovation Society
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