Thursday February 13, 2020: The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) brings a spotlight to increasing use of the term ‘Nanoplastics’ in reporting of plastics, primarily within an environmental context, reflecting increasing concern on the use and inappropriate disposal of plastics.

‘Nanoplastics’ is often used by public authorities and the media, with a potentially negative impact on the perception of nanomaterials, which have little or no connection to the plastics being referenced.

In a position paper developed and published with its Members across research and industry, NIA urges caution and clarity when referring to plastics as small particles or fragments.  The term ‘Nanoplastics’ is non-specific and ambiguous and therefore qualifiers should be considered for accurate presentation to all audiences.

Such qualifiers should include material origins as appropriate, such as:

·       Incidental ‘nanoplastics’ – which originate through degradation or wear of plastic materials from an original larger material

·       Manufactured ‘nanoplastics’ – which are intentionally produced at the nanoscale to allow for specific nanoscale characteristics

To NIA’s current knowledge, there are very few intentionally produced ‘nanoplastics’, with use largely restricted to scientific research within laboratories, and NIA encourages responsible use of the term in all usage.

Dr Claire Skentelbery, Director General of NIA commented “The NIA urges public authorities and other communicators to take care when using the term ‘nanoplastic’.  For scientific accuracy and responsible dissemination, it should be used with qualifiers so that all stakeholders understand the origin of such materials.

The full position paper can be read on the NIA website HERE and for further information, please contact NIA through