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OECD publishes four Reports on the Safety of Nanomaterials

The OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials has added a further four publications to its OECD Publication Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials:

Number 20: Current Developments/Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials: Tour de Table at the 6th Meeting of the Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials, 28-30 October 2009

Report excerpts:

‘In each meeting of the Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN), the delegations have an opportunity to provide their developments on the safety of manufactured nanomaterials, so called “Tour de Table”. An earlier version of this document was originally provided to the 5th meeting held 4-6 March 2009 in Paris, France. This document includes an update of the status of the work of the WPMN (Section I) and compiles information provided by member countries and other delegations on current developments on the safety of manufactured nanomaterials (section II) in their countries or organisations. There are also written reports on current activities related to nanotechnologies/nanomaterials in other International Organisations including the International Organisation for Standardisation, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Health Organisation (section III). This is intended to provide delegations and other stakeholders with a “snapshot” of information on activities related to manufactured nanomaterials, as well as other activities on nanotechnologies, at the national and international level. This “snapshot” was current at the time of the 6th meeting of the WPMN (October 2009)’.

Number 21: Report of the Workshop on Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials in a regulatory context, held on 16-18 September 2009, in Washington D.C.,United States

Report excerpts:

‘The OECD Workshop on Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials in Regulatory Context took place on 16 – 18 September 2009 in Washington D.C., United States. This event was co-hosted by the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) and the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA)...The workshop was intended to provide expert input in the critical issues specific for the risk assessments of nanomaterials in a regulatory context, and provide information useful for the revision of the SG6 draft report entitled “Risk Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials: Critical Issues” which was prepared at the 4th meeting of the OECD WPMN...


  1. The risk assessment paradigm for chemicals will continue to guide approaches to the risk assessment of nanomaterials, and no fundamental changes to this paradigm are envisioned
  2. As with any risk assessment, extrapolation approaches for nanomaterials should be based on mechanistic data where available and additional research is needed to support the validity of default assumptions
  3. Although the basic risk assessment paradigm for nanomaterials is essentially the same as for traditional chemicals, research is needed to determine what characteristics of nanomaterials may pose unique hazards
  4. There does not appear to be a scientific rational to justify employing a risk assessment uncertainty factor specifically addressing materials at the nanoscale. In addition, application of standard risk assessment uncertainty factors in nanomaterial risk assessments should undergo validation; justification should also be provided when using invalidated uncertainty factors in risk assessments
  5. It is recognised that there is uncertainty concerning the units of measurement (i.e., metrics) used to generate test results employed in risk assessments’

Number 22: OECD Programme on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials 2009-2012 Operational Plans of the Projects

This publication introduces the OECD WPMN’s new Programme of Work, agreed during the 6th WPMN (held in Paris, October 2009). ‘The Working Party is implementing its work through specific projects to further develop appropriate methods and strategies to help ensure human health and environmental safety:

  • OECD Database on Manufactured Nanomaterials to Inform and Analyse EHS Research Activities
  • Safety Testing of a Representative Set of Manufactured Nanomaterials
  • Manufactured Nanomaterials and Test Guidelines
  • Co-operation on Voluntary Schemes and Regulatory Programmes
  • Co-operation on Risk Assessment
  • The role of Alternative Methods in Nanotoxicology
  • Exposure Measurement and Exposure Mitigation
  • Environmentally Sustainable Use of Nanotechnology'

Number 23: Report of the Questionnaire on Regulatory Regimes for Manufactured Nanomaterials (2010)

This report of the WPMN project on Co-operation on Voluntary Schemes and Regulatory Programmes includes information gathered via a questionnaire on practices, policies and regulations in the various different regulatory regimes of WPMN Members and guest members.

According to the report, ‘[t]wenty-four responses were received from nine jurisdictions for Legislations covering a wide variety of chemical substances and/or products including industrial chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, agricultural compounds, fuels and fuel additives, food and food additives and veterinary medicines. Other Legislations reported included those covering occupational health and safety, consumer products, control of major accidents and labelling and packaging. [...]None of the respondents reported having legislation specific to nanomaterials, however most respondents indicated that the authority to regulate substances that are nanomaterials, or products containing nanomaterials, exists in current Legislation’.


Follow these links to find out more about the OECD Publication Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials.

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