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Posted: December 10, 2007

OECD launches programme to test the safety of manufactured nanomaterials

(Nanowerk News) OECD member countries, as well as some non-member economies and other stakeholders, are pooling expertise and funding to test the human health and environmental safety effects of a number of nanomaterials.
The programme will test nanomaterials which are already in use or will be soon. Examples are so called fullerenes or bucky balls (a special form of carbon), nanotubes and cerium oxide. Other nanomaterials will be included in the programme in the near future. These nanomaterials will be tested for: their physical-chemical properties; environmental degradation and accumulation; environmental toxicology; and mammalian toxicology. Nanomaterials are used in products as varied as tennis rackets and sun screens.
As nanomaterials are often new forms of traditional chemicals, the OECD Test Guidelines for the Safety of Chemicals will be the basis for the tests. These tests will provide valuable information on the safety of nanomaterials and will help determine whether the results obtained with the OECD Test Guidelines are suitable for the safety assessment of nanomaterials. If not, new or amended guidelines will have to be developed. Countries will review progress on this work in June 2008.
The OECD s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials will manage the programme as part of its work on the safety nanomaterials. OECD has already published two substantial reports detailing the efforts of governments and other stakeholders to address safety issues.
Background
The Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials was established in 2006 to help member countries efficiently and effectively address the safety challenges of nanomaterials. OECD has a wealth of experience with developing methods for the safety testing and assessment of chemical products. The Working Party brings together more than 100 experts from governments and other stakeholders.
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 is being undertaken.
More information on the work of OECD on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials is available at: http://www.oecd.org/env/nanosafety/
Contact person: Peter Kearns, OECD (ENV/EHS).
Source: OECD
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