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Posted: July 14, 2010

Public consultation on scientific basis for a definition of the term 'nanomaterial'

(Nanowerk News) The European Commission has requested the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) to provide advice on the essential elements of a science-based working definition of "nanomaterials" and, specifically, to identify the most appropriate metrics to define materials at nanoscale, taking into account reported size ranges and other relevant characteristics and corresponding metrics, characteristics, physico-chemical properties and thresholds.
In line with its procedures for stakeholder dialogue, published on 15 September 2007, the European Commission is launching a public consultation on the pre-consultation opinion (pdf) approved by written procedure on 6 July 2010.
The Stakeholder Dialogue Procedure is now implemented in the Rules of Procedures (pdf). (Annex IV) of the new Scientific Committees set up by Commission Decision 2008/721/EC of 5 September 2008.
Background
The services of the European Commission need to elaborate a working definition for the term "nanomaterial" to ensure the consistency of forthcoming regulatory developments to guide, as appropriate, the effective implementation of existing regulation and to contribute to international work and dialogue on nanotechnology definitions.
The SCENIHR adopted a Scientific Opinion on "The scientific aspects of the existing and proposed definitions relating to products of nanoscience and nanotechnologies" at the 21st plenary meeting on 29 November 2007[1]. Both the SCENIHR[2] and the predecessor to the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)[3] have provided further advice on the definitions of the term nanomaterial and other related terms in their opinions. Moreover, the European Food Safety Authority used the terms and definitions suggested by the SCENIHR in the opinion on "The Potential Risks Arising from Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies on Food and Feed Safety" on 10 February 2009[4].
In order to prepare a science-based definition of nanomaterials, the services of the European Commission need clarification on the size ranges and other relevant characteristics and corresponding metrics reported in the scientific literature, the types of physical and chemical properties particular to nanomaterials, the relevant thresholds, as well as the most appropriate metrics to express such thresholds.
The development of the policy and regulatory activities on nanotechnologies requires the rapid establishment of a working definition of nanomaterials.
Submission of comments
All interested parties are invited to submit their comments and proposals on the preliminary opinion (pdf) to this website.
The deadline for submission of comments is Wednesday,15 September 2010. Those in a position to contribute to the consultation before the deadline are invited to do so.
References
[1] http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_012.pdf
[2] http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_023.pdf
[3] http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_099.pdf
[4] http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/scdocs/scdoc/958.htm
Source: European Commission
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