Open public register for nanoactivities

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2007 11:48 am    Post subject: Open public register for nanoactivities Reply with quote

Open public register for nanoactivities

Sixty European civil society representatives and researchers discussed environmental and health implications of nanotech in Utrecht, 18 October. The organizer Platform Health and Environment aimed to stimulate NGOís to make up their mind about nanotechnology and start participating in the public debate.

Wim van Veelen of the Dutch trade union FNV proposed opening a public register for nanoactivities to inform workers and others about which companies and other employers are already handling engineered nanomaterials. His main concern is that individual workers may be exposed unknowingly to nanoparticles without understanding the potential risks. FNV is participating in the EU funded NANOCAP project for nanotechnology capacity building in environmental NGOís and trade union (2006-2009), coordinated by Pieter van Broekhuyzen of the University of Amsterdam.

The three keynote speakers, professor Lucas Reijnders of the University of Amsterdam, professor Antonietta Gatti of Modena University, Italy and professor Ken Donaldson of the University of Edinburgh pointed out that most known risks of nanoparticles are caused by diesel exhaust and other combustion processes. The hazards of and exposure to engineered nanoparticles are little known. The participants discussed consumer products and medical applications; occupational risks; and health and environment.

A citizenís panel including representatives of environmental groups, patients and workers discussed policy options proposed during the day. They considered it too early to start new campaigns on engineered nanomaterials, and wanted more information. The issues discussed during the day were however relevant to ongoing lobby on chemicals, diesel exhaust and waste combustion. Caroline Zerger of Friends of the Earth Germany announced a campaign asking Samsung to stop marketing their new washing machine distributing silver nanoparticles into the environment. They are also planning an NGO conference including environmental groups, trade unions and churches in Germany next year.

The presentations will be made available for download from the website of the platform health and environment.


This story was first posted on 20th October2006.
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