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Public Health (21-09-2009)

Scientific Hearing on the Risk Assessment of Nanotechnologies

On 10 September 2009, the Health and Consumers Directorate General of the European Commission (DG SANCO) held a scientific hearing on the risk assessment of nanotechnologies.

The Hearing was organised to discuss the scientific comments and questions of stakeholders and, through this dialogue, to support the future work of the independent Scientific Committees of the European Commission in the area of risk assessment of nanotechnologies. Specifically, the main objectives were (i) to identify scientific topics that had not yet been addressed, (ii) to determine the main potential risks that could emerge from the use of nanomaterials in the future, and (iii) to acquire relevant background information on those issues.

A wide range of stakeholders - including members of the EC scientific committees, NGOs, industry representatives and concerned citizens- attended the hearing. The event took place in a constructive ambiance and confirmed the input received during the previous public consultation organised in preparation for the hearing. The large attendance (more than 170 participants in addition to webstreaming), indicated the importance and necessity of such dialogues, focusing on scientific aspects in the decision–making process.

The European Commission considers the issue of safety for the success of nanotechnologies of the utmost importance and is continuously monitoring all relevant developments. The scientific hearing on the risk assessment of nanotechnologies is part of a range of DG SANCO initiatives aiming to engage all interested parties in a constructive dialogue.

The next important initiative is the forthcoming annual Nano Safety for Success Dialogue. Its goal is to discuss issues related to the use of nanotechnologies and to identify appropriate means for strengthening the guidance in support of the safe, integrated, and responsible development of these technologies. This year, the 3rd Nano Safety for Success Dialogue ( Brussels, 3-4 November) will focus on case studies of specific applications that are already on the market.

For updated information regarding the 3rd Nano Safety for Success Dialogue, please visit the related webpage.

More information regarding to the scientific hearing on the risk assessment of nanotechnologies can be found at the hearing's webpage.