Canada expected to demand data from suppliers of nanomaterials

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Consumer products Nanotechnology

Canada is poised to become the first country to demand that companies report their use of engineered nanomaterials.

Information on quantity, usage and chemical data will be required as part of a one-off request from the Canadian government, according to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Companies that manufactured or imported more than one kilogram of nanomaterial in 2008 will have to submit the information, said a spokesperson from Environment Canada.

One-off requirement

The requirement, which is reportedly planned for February, is intended as a one-time request to gather information that will be used to evaluate the risks of engineered nanomaterials and develop an appropriate regulatory framework.

PEN hailed the move as a significant step for consumer and environmental protection.

“Governments lack information on the type, quantity and possible risks of nanoscale materials being manufactured and used in products today,”​ said Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor to PEN.

“This decision by Canada is an important step toward ensuring that nanotechnology regulation is driven by accurate information and high quality science.”

Inventory of nanotech-based consumer goods

PEN itself has established a database of consumer products that contain nanomaterials.

The group announced in April last year that three to four consumer products incorporating nanotechnology are launched every day.

Cosmetics, sunscreen and personal care are some of the largest sub-categories in the PEN inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products. As of August last year, cosmetics make up 126 of the 806 products or product lines on the list.

PEN supports the advancement of nanotechnologies but insists that possible risks must be investigated and minimized to ensure that the potential benefits are realized. It regularly calls for greater research into risks and has been critical of both industry and the US government for moving too slowly in this regard.

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