Small Material, Big Impact
European Repository of Reference Nanomaterials will improve safety assessment
The European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) has just launched the first European repository of nanomaterials with a representative range of 25 different types of reference nanomaterials. This will support safety assessment to ensure consumer protection and confidence in many innovative applications and products. Nanotechnology is one of today's most promising technological developments. By enabling a harmonised risk assessment the repository can contribute to the success of nanotechnology and its products. Standardised methodologies and materials are necessary to obtain worldwide comparable test results and to provide reliable data for policy and regulatory decision making.
Launching the repository officially today, Elke Anklam, Director of the JRC Institute
for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP), said: "This unique repository fosters
standardisation in safety assessment and facilitates innovation by creating a common
and consistent measurement framework for all stakeholders. This will both support
international harmonisation bodies for standardising risk assessment as well as EU
policy makers for regulatory issues."
Nanomaterials may offer a range of benefits over traditional materials and enable the
development of innovative applications and products. For European industry to
capitalise in the best sense from nanotechnologies, it is essential that the EU has a
wellconsidered regulatory framework covering issues related to safe practices in the
manufacturing process, consumer health, and protection of the environment.
Such a framework depends on harmonised and science based risk assessment. In
order to ensure the comparability of the underlying data obtained in the many
international test laboratories, the availability of representative reference
nanomaterials is essential.
This first European repository of nanomaterials has been created by the JRC in
response to needs for safetyassessment testing from experts in the major
international standardisation bodies. The repository contains most types of
nanomaterials currently assumed to be used in significant volumes in consumer
products. Some 8000 test samples have already been distributed to European
national authorities, EU funded research projects, and have also been used in
international scientific cooperation initiatives (such as the OECD Working Party on
Manufactured Nanomaterials). The nanomaterials contained in the repository are
produced in collaboration with the German Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology
and Applied Ecology (IME) under Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) conditions. The 25
types of material include carbon nanotubes, silver nanoparticles, titanium dioxide,
cerium oxide, zinc oxide, bentonite, gold and silicon dioxide.
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