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Posted: April 18, 2008

Four European countries discuss voluntary safety standards in nanotechnology

(Nanowerk News) Representatives of authorities from Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Germany discussed at TÜV SÜD Industry Service GmbH in Munich the current state of voluntary safety measures in nanotechnology risk management. CENARIOS®, the world`s first certifiable, nanospecific risk management and monitoring system was also presented to the authorities and discussed.
On April 10th and 11th 2008 the “1st International Authorities Dialogue” with about 20 representatives from Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein and Germany took place at the headquarters of TÜV SÜD Industry Service GmbH in Munich. Gerhard Klein, Head of Risk Management at TÜV SÜD Industry Service GmbH, organiser and host of the Munich meeting declared: „We deliberately focused on the German-speaking area today, because transnational communication and dialogue should be promoted within areas of common jurisdiction.“ The focus of the meeting was on voluntary measures in nanotechnology risk management. The Swiss action plan, the Austrian risk dialogue and the German nano dialogue were reported on and networking activities within international working groups were discussed.
The second part of the conference was characterized by presentations and workshops during which the risk management system CENARIOS® - developed by TÜV SÜD Industry Service GmbH and The Innovation Society St. Gallen - served as a practical example for discussing opportunities in risk analysis and monitoring, questions of certification, labelling and voluntary disclosure systems. For the subsequent podium discussion, the question “How to effectively assess voluntary safety measures by manufacturers” served as a basis. The current state and possible solutions were discussed on the basis of the previous presentations.
Voluntary measures are perceived as being of paramount importance. There is a clear need to assess their effectiveness especially under the aspect of fast increasing applications of nanoparticles in consumer and industrial products and subsequent questions of safety during their lifecycle. Though national solutions were seen as indispensable starting points, they cannot be regarded as fully adequate in transnational and globalised economies. An encompassing approach has to take this into account.
Gerhard Klein concludes: “Organising this dialogue, we were pleased by the intensive discussions that, while going into detail, never lost sight of the greater picture.” Prof. Georg Karlaganis from the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) adds: “In Switzerland, we are on the brink of putting our Nano Action Plan into practice. Therefore we appreciate the exchange with our colleagues from neighbouring countries and the discussion of practical approaches with a risk management system like CENARIOS® that is already applied in practice.”
For Dr. Christoph Meili, CEO of the Innovation Society Ltd. and co-organiser of the conference it is clair that this transnational-dialogue will continue: “Due to the positive feedback, we will again invite for the 2nd authorities dialogue in the context of the upcoming NanoEurope on September 16-17, 2008 in St.Gallen.” This conference will also be dedicated to the topic of voluntary measures, and there will be executive representatives from global industry, NGOs and insurers. Given the rapidly increasing spread of nanotechnology, the area of risk management can only be advanced in a transnational dialogue.
All presentations held at the 1st International Authorities Dialogue are available for download on the TÜV SÜD website under http://www.tuev-sued.de/technische_anlagen/risikomanagement/nanotechnologie/vortraege2
Source: Innovation Society