Swiss action plan for synthetic nanomaterials

(Nanowerk News) The "Action plan for synthetic nanomaterials" illustrates the work required in Switzerland for the safe handling of nanomaterials. It was adopted by the Federal Council in April 2008. On 25 April 2012 the Federal Council decided to continue the action plan until 2015.
The action plan was developed by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) in cooperation with an inter-departmental task force and the involvement of a panel of scientific and economic experts.
The objectives of the action plan include:
  • development of regulatory framework conditions for the responsible handling of synthetic nanomaterials;
  • creation of scientific and methodical conditions aimed at identifying and preventing potential harmful effects of synthetic nanomaterials on health and the environment;
  • promotion of the public dialogue about opportunities and risks of nanotechnology;
  • better utilisation of existing tools for the development and rollout of sustainable nanotechnology applications.
  • The creation of regulatory framework conditions is divided into two phases:
  • Phase 1 (short and medium term): Strengthening of corporate responsibility through different tools (precautionary matrix, guide to self-regulation, support of private-sector codes of conduct, guidelines for nano-specific safety data sheets, improved consumer information, disposal guide)
  • Phase 2 (medium and long term): Development of legal framework conditions for the safe handling of synthetic nanomaterials (review of measures exceeding existing provisions and coordination with developments abroad)
  • The action plan for synthetic nanomaterials is based on a basic report compiled in 2007 and follows a similar action plan of the EU from June 2005.
    The increasing scientific, economic and societal significance of nanotechnology was the impulse for developing the action plan for synthetic nanomaterials. It is aimed at staking out new opportunities and utilising sustainable applications. At the same time, it will help assess possible risks extensively and promptly and, if necessary, implement measures to protect the environment and public health.
    Source: Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
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