JRC at the 4th Annual Nanotechnology Safety for Success Dialogue Workshop

(Nanowerk News) Participants of this year's edition of the European Commission's Nano - Safety for Success Dialogue met under the heading of assessing the science and issues at the science / regulation interface. The event, organised by Health and Consumers Directorate General of the European Commission, took place in Brussels on 29-30 March 2011.
In the opening plenary session on 'Detection, measurement and characterisation of manufactured nanomaterials', Dr. Gert Roebben, from the Joint Research Centre, Institute for Reference Materials and Measurements, spoke about reliable measurements of manufactured nanomaterials. He explained the meaning and role of metrological traceability and measurement uncertainty, and the corresponding need for a system of reference methods, materials and laboratories. The presentation focused on measurements of particle size and particle size distribution, which are the measurements relevant for the current definitions for the term nanomaterial. Dr. Roebben highlighted the limitations of the current reference system, and listed ongoing activities towards solving the underlying knowledge gaps.
Dr. Herman Stamm, head of Nanobiosciences unit from the JRC, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP), chaired the plenary session 'Regulatory definitions: approaches and perspectives'. Various definitions of nanomaterials, developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), in Australia (Australian National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme), in Canada (Health Canada), in the USA (US Food and Drugs Administration) and the status of the developments in the European Commission, were presented and discussed. JRC, in July 2010, published a reference report 'Considerations on a definition of nanomaterial for regulatory purposes, which discusses possible elements of a definition aiming at reducing ambiguity and confusion for regulators, industry and the general public.
On the second day, Dr. Enrico Burello from the JRC-IHCP chaired the break-out group on risk assessment. The group's task was to propose prioritized actions to move from a case-by-case risk assessment paradigm to a more generic framework. The conclusions of the group discussion highlighted that both exposure and hazard information, which are not available at present, are required to perform a generic framework-based risk assessment. In the short term, a generic assessment of nanomaterials could be carried out by creating exposure clusters, whereas in the mid and long term the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials and their relationship with structure and biological activity will be essential to build up a generic framework.
Source: Joint Research Centre