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Posted: September 22, 2006
UK launches reporting scheme to address nanotechnology uncertainties
(Nanowerk News) DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs) has today launched an important new initiative to work towards addressing any potential risks posed by the products of nanotechnologies.
The Voluntary Reporting Scheme invites industry, research organisations and others to provide Government with information on the engineered nanoscale materials with which they are working - materials that are so small they are measured in billionths of a metre.
There is currently very little information available on the potential risks that these materials may pose to the environment and human health. The scheme is designed, together with a programme of Government research, to address this knowledge deficit.
The scheme is voluntary and will run for a period of two years.
Defra Minister Lord Rooker said: "The nature and focus of Defra's efforts to understand the potential risk posed by engineered nanoscale materials will be greatly improved by a better understanding of the properties and characteristics of the materials with which industry and research organisations are working."
"Defra's Voluntary Reporting Scheme will provide an important means of co-ordinating this agenda, and it is critical that as many companies and organisations as possible get involved."
Dr. Michael Pitkethly, Chairman of the Nanotechnologies Industry Association (NIA), said: "Defra's Voluntary Reporting Scheme is a very important step in ensuring that we have appropriate controls in place for engineered materials at the nanoscale. The safety of these materials is of paramount importance to the NIA and the scheme aligns with the NIA's advocacy of a measured and responsible approach and has our full support."
Commercial products that use engineered nanoscale materials include some sunscreens, paints, diesel fuel additives, and clothing.