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Posted: November 7, 2008

Regional Australian government issues nanotechnology report on risks

(Nanowerk News) The government of New South Wales has issued a Final Report, Nanotechnology in New South Wales (pdf downlaod, 836 KB) to address a current Legislative Council inquiry into the potential risks of and issues with nanotechnology.
The committee that compiled the report reached the following conclusions and issued these recommendations:
Recommendation 1: That the New South Wales Government recommend that nano-versions of existing chemicals are assessed as new chemicals, during the review of the national regulatory frameworks.
Recommendation 2: That the NSW Government ensure that all relevant State regulatory agencies be involved in developing a coordinated and cohesive position on what amendments, if any, are required to the current regulatory frameworks in order to best regulate nanomaterials over their life-cycle.
Recommendation 3: That WorkCover NSW work with those companies, or premises of which it is aware, that manufacture or use engineered nanomaterials of 300 nanometres or less in size in one or more dimensions, to promote workplace safety in the use of nanotechnology. That WorkCover NSW advertise its intention to undertake this endeavour and call for companies manufacturing or using engineered nanomaterials of 300 nanometres or less in size to contact it to participate in this workplace safety endeavour.
Recommendation 4: That the New South Wales Government work in cooperation with federal agencies on the development of a national mandatory labelling scheme for engineered nanomaterials used in the workplace, and that in the absence of a national scheme, NSW should proceed with investigating the development of its own mandatory labelling scheme.
Recommendation 5: That the NSW Food Authority develop an application to seek an amendment to the national Food Standards Code to require that food labels identify the presence of nanoscale materials.
Recommendation 6: That the New South Wales Government recommend that ingredient labelling requirements for sunscreens and cosmetics include the identification of nanoscale materials, during the review of the national regulatory frameworks.
Recommendation 7: That the New South Wales Government work in cooperation with federal agencies on the development of a national mandatory reporting scheme for companies who use, manufacture, transport or dispose of nanomaterials, and that in the absence of a national scheme, NSW should proceed with investigating the development of its own interim reporting scheme.
Recommendation 8: That the New South Wales Government actively seek, through the use of leverage funding, the establishment of additional metrology infrastructure within the State to build on the current metrology strength and to provide additional benefit to industry, research and development.
Recommendation 9: That the Office of Science and Medical Research, through investigation and consultation, determine what are the nanotoxicology research needs of most importance to the industry and research sectors in New South Wales.
Recommendation 10: That the New South Wales Government provide financial support to create enhanced nanotoxicology assessment capacity relevant to research and industry sectors in the State.
Recommendation 11: That New South Wales Government agencies that provide funding grants for research and development of nanomaterials or products containing nanomaterials with a view to their commercialisation require that a component of that funding be used to assess the health, safety and environmental risks of the material or product when those risks have not yet been tested or confirmed.
Recommendation 12: That the NSW Department of State and Regional Development enter into detailed discussions with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and New South Wales Government agencies to explore the feasibility of and need for a specialised facility for assessing the toxicity of engineered nanomaterials, and the case for and benefit of it being located within New South Wales.
Recommendation 13: That a user-friendly, accessible and continually updated directory of research and research infrastructure capacity within New South Wales that is publicly available via an easily accessible website be maintained by a relevant Government agency or department.
Recommendation 14: That the New South Wales Government develop, publish and endorse a comprehensive statement on nanotechnology, referring, among other matters, to current issues relating to nanotechnology, activity being undertaken at the State and national levels, and advice on where further information is available.
Recommendation 15: That the NSW Government establish a NSW Nanotechnology Unit within an existing department or agency to act as a coordination point for all other NSW agencies dealing with issues relating to nanotechnology, provide a central point for whole of government information on or enquires relating to nanotechnology, and proactively engage with industry in the promotion of nanotechnology.
Recommendation 16: That the New South Wales University-Government working group, with representation from the vocational and technical education sector, examine the education, skill and knowledge requirements to support nanotechnology.
Recommendation 17: That the Office of Science and Medical Research, in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training, examine and develop a strategy to ensure greater access for regional students to the Science EXPosed programme.
Recommendation 18: That the NSW Government, or the new NSW Nanotechnology Unit as recommended by the Committee, create and maintain a website that provides information, or links to information, on nanotechnology.
Source: Government of New South Wales