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nanotechnologie,nanoteknologi,nanotecnologia,
nanotehnoloogia, nanoteknologia, nanotechnologija, nanotehnologijas, nanoteknologija, nanotechnologii, nanotecnologia, nanotehnologijo, nanoteknik

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Public consultation on risk assessment methods for nanotechnologies.


 

The European Commission launched a public consultation on risk assessment methods for nanotechnologies on 20 October.

Nanotechnology involves the controlled production of new materials, structures, and devices which have one or more dimensions thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. The nanoscale confers new technological properties which may however have potential implications for safety and therefore need to be assessed in advance.

EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, declared, 'The competitiveness of a society depends greatly on how amenable it is to new developments and technologies. We must avoid a situation where the marketing of highly innovative nanotechnology products is obstructed by difficulties in providing consumers with the safety assurances they seek. Unquestionably, consumer safety remains the first and highest priority. That is why we are looking for the most appropriate way to carry out risk assessments that will assure the safety of Europeans and build confidence in nanotechnology.'

Nanotechnologies are expected to make a major contribution to improving the quality of the life of European citizens, in particular in sectors such as material sciences, health care, information technology, and the environment. The Commission acknowledges this fact, as well as the huge potential contribution of nanotechnologies to the furthering to European competitiveness. This was the rationale behind the high priority given to research and development on this area in the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6). An even higher profile has been proposed for this technology under FP7.

In response to a request from the Commission, the independent experts of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) recently adopted an opinion on 'the appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies'. This opinion looks at the limitations of current risk assessment methods in addressing the specific characteristics of the products on nanotechnologies and where improvements could be made. Although the focus is very much on the methods of risk assessment, rather than the actual risks of nanotechnologies, SCENIHR also carefully considered health and environmental factors that would need to be taken into account.

Now, the Commission, in consultation with the Committee, is inviting interested stakeholders to submit their views on the SCENIHR opinion online. The consultation will run until 16 December. The online consultation aims to gather feedback on the appropriateness of current risk assessment methods for nanotechnology products and how they can be improved. As background information for the public, the Commission has also published a document (MEMO/05/385) with questions and answers on risk assessment of nanotechnology products.

Once the consultation is closed, SCENIHR and the Commission services will carefully examine all comments in order to further refine approaches to risk assessment of nanotechnology products. The outcome of this process will be available online.

To read SCENIHR's opinion and access the consultation, please visit:
http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/scenihr_cons_01_en.htm



CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities.


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