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Public Health (08-08-2007)

EU Technical Guidance for chemicals requires nanomaterial-related modifications

The European Commission published today a scientific opinion on the appropriateness of the EU Technical Guidance Documents for chemicals in regard to nanomaterials. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) concludes that modifications to the existing technical guidance for the risk assessment of chemicals will be necessary. Special characterization of nanomaterial properties –potentially differing considerably from the conventional chemicals– is needed. Furthermore, the toxicological behaviour and effects on health and the environment need to be assessed properly.
 
Due to the lack of common rules for the toxicology of nanomaterials, the risk assessment nanomaterials should be carried out on a case-by-case basis. The SCENIHR identifies issues requiring improvements in the technical guidance and methodologies, and proposes a staged strategy for the risk assessment of nanomaterials. Special consideration is required for the assessment of the potential translocation of nanoparticles in humans and other species, and potential adverse effects, for example, within the cardiovascular system or following passage across the blood – brain barrier.
 
Nanotechnologies are expected to bring substantial benefits to the quality of life of citizens and to European competitiveness. The Commission Action Plan supports a safe, integrated, and responsible approach to the development of nanotechnologies. The SCENIHR opinion contributes to the further development of regulatory guidance and prioritisation of research on nanomaterials in the 7th Community Framework Programme for Research.
 
The opinion can be found at:
http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/docs/scenihr_o_010.pdf