OECD calls for manufactured nanomaterial safety

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nanotechnology

OECD calls for manufactured nanomaterial safety
The non-intergovernmental Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has recommended its Member Countries apply existing international and national chemical regulatory frameworks to manage the risks associated with manufactured nanomaterials. 

The Recommendation​ approved by the Organisation’s governing Council noted that these frameworks and other management systems may need to be adapted to take into account the specific properties of manufactured nanomaterials. 

These are chemical particles that exhibit new characteristics in contrast to the same material without nanoscale features and their novel features offer possibilities for new commercial applications, such as solar cells using silicon nanocrystals to achieve higher efficiency.

In this instance the Organisation is also raising questions regarding potential unintended risks to humans and the environment. For example; "newly manufactured nanomaterials have applications in sunscreens and cosmetics, and so the potential risk from their exposure needs to be carefully assessed​."

Still working to develop new approaches for the industry 

The Group is known for its work in developing alternative methods and approaches represents 34 industrialised countries in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific and offers a GLP award to laboratories meeting its guidelines of uniformity, consistency, reliability, reproducibility, quality, and integrity of non-clinical safety tests.

With this new Recommendation, it highlights the importance of its 'Test Guidelines for the Safety Testing of Chemicals', noting that many are suitable for the safety assessment of nanomaterials but that some may need to be adapted to take into account the specific properties of nanomaterials.

"An important consequence of this Recommendation is that much of the data collected as part of the safety assessment of nanomaterials will fall within the scope of the OECD system for the Mutual Acceptance of Data (MAD)​ in the Assessment of Chemicals​."

Extension of MAD to reduce non-tariff trade barriers

According to the OECD, the extension of the scope of MAD to nanomaterials will considerably reduce the potential for non-tariff trade barriers between countries when marketing as well as allowing for sharing the workload between countries in testing and assessing all nanomaterials which are on the market.

There will be a review of the Recommendation in three years to assess how it has been implemented in OECD countries and those partners which have adhered to it.

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