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Posted: Apr 16, 2012

OECD nanotechnology update on nanomaterial risk assessment

(Nanowerk News) Since the document, Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials: Critical Issues, was initially presented at the 4th meeting of the WPMN in 2008, the WPMN Steering Group Six (SG6) has been developing it taking account of comments/ suggestions from worldwide experts. At the 9th meeting of the WPMN, the title of the document "Critical Issues" was replaced by "Important Issues". The WPMN has recognised that there is important information/ issues in this document which assist when considering the risk assessment of nanomaterials.
A recently released, new document, "Important Issues on Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials", provides the current practices, challenges and strategies for assessing risk in circumstances where data are limited, and there is a necessity for more research on specific risk assessment issues; however, it is not to be construed to imply scientific and/or policy endorsement of any specific risk assessment methods or models. It should be noted that this document is a living document. It was current at the time of 9th meeting of the WPMN (December 2011) and subject to amendment and refinement as research affords further understanding of how to assess and manage nanomaterials.
OECD's programme on the safety of manufactured nanomaterials
The OECD's Programme on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials was established in 2006 to assist member countries to efficiently and effectively address the safety challenges of nanomaterials. OECD has a wealth of experience in developing methods for the safety testing and assessment of chemical products.
The Programme brings together more than 100 experts from governments and other stakeholders from: a) OECD Countries; b) non-member economies such as China, the Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, and Thailand; and c) observers and invited experts from UNITAR, FAO, WHO, ISO, BIAC, and environmental NGOs.
Although OECD member countries appreciate the many potential benefits from the use of nanomaterials, they wished to engage, at an early stage, in addressing the possible safety implications at the same time as research on new applications are being undertaken.
The Programme of Work is being implemented through specific projects to further develop appropriate methods and strategies to help ensure human health and environmental safety:
  • OECD Database on Manufactured Nanomaterials to Inform and Analyse EHS Research Activities;
  • Safety Testing of a Representative Set of Manufactured Nanomaterials;
  • Manufactured Nanomaterials and Test Guidelines;
  • Co-operation on Voluntary Schemes and Regulatory Programmes;
  • Co-operation on Risk Assessment;
  • The role of Alternative Methods in Nanotoxicology;
  • Exposure Measurement and Exposure Mitigation; and
  • Environmentally Sustainable Use of Manufactured Nanomaterials
  • Each project is being managed by a steering group, which comprises members of the WPMN, with support from the Secretariat. Each steering group implements its respective "operational plans", each with their specific objectives and timelines. The results of each project are then evaluated and endorsed by the WPMN, and subsequently by the OECD Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology.
    This document was prepared by steering group six (SG6) of the WPMN, which is leading the project on Co-operation on Risk Assessment and was endorsed at the 9th meeting of the WPMN in December 2011.
    More information about the work of the OECD's Programme on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials, as well as OECD's publications regarding safety issues of nanomaterials, is available at
    Source: OECD
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