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Source document:
SCENIHR (2006)

Summary & Details:
GreenFacts (2007)
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Nanotechnologies



 

About this Publication on Nanotechnologies

  1. Source for this Publication
  2. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
  3. Background to the SCENIHR opinion on Nanotechnologies
  4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCENIHR

1. Source for this Publication

The material content of the texts on Level 3 are directly sourced from
 "modified Opinion (after public consultation) on the appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies", (SCENIHR /002/05), a report produced in 2006 by the SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks) of the European Commission.

The Levels 1 & 2 were written by Dr. Marisa Fernandez in collaboration with the GreenFacts editorial team and the DG Health and Consumer Protection of the European Commission.

This publication is produced by GreenFacts under a contract from the Health & Consumer Protection DG of the European Commission

2. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) was set up in 2004 by the European Commission to provide the Commission with unambiguous scientific advice on the safety of a series of issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of the risks, such as new technologies, medical devices, etc.

The SCENIHR advice is intended to enable risk managers to take the adequate and required actions in order to guarantee consumer safety or public health.

The SCENIHR addresses questions concerning emerging or newly-identified risks and on broad, complex or multi-disciplinary issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of risks to consumer safety or public health and related issues not covered by other Community risk- assessment bodies.

The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks is composed of a maximum of 13 members, but for any specific question may enlist the support of up to six associated members selected on the basis of their expertise. There is also a reserve list made up of candidates found suitable for a position in a Scientific Committee but not appointed. The members of the SCENIHR are appointed on the basis of their skills and experience in the fields in question, and consistent with this a geographical distribution that reflects the diversity of scientific problems and approaches in the European Union (EU). The experts' term of office is three years and is renewable for a maximum of three consecutive times. In agreement with the Commission, the Scientific Committees may turn to specialised external experts.

The SCENIHR complies with the principles of independence, transparency and confidentiality. The members therefore make a declaration of commitment to act in the public interest and a declaration of interests; requests for opinions, agendas, minutes and opinions are published; work and publications are done with regard to the need for commercial confidentiality.

By mid-2007 the SCENIHR had adopted 9 opinions or position papers on topics such as Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), West Nile Virus, Nanotechnologies, and Electromagnetic Fields (EMF).

For further information on the SCENIHR see: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_scenihr/04_scenihr_en.htm 

3. Background to the SCENIHR opinion on Nanotechnologies

The  "modified Opinion (after public consultation) on the appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies" (SCENIHR /002/05), was published by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) of the European Commission on 10 March 2006 following a public consultation procedure and a series of earlier reports.

The SCENIHR had undertaken a public consultation on the basis of a preliminary opinion. Interested parties submitted a series of comments or pertinent scientific information  by 16 December 2005.

4. Specific questions asked by the European Commission to the SCENIHR

In its  "modified Opinion (after public consultation) on the appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies" (SCENIHR /002/05), the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) was requested to answer the following questions:

  1. Are existing methodologies appropriate to assess potential and plausible risks associated with different kinds of nanotechnologies and processes associated with nanosized materials as well as the engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies?
  2. If existing methodologies are not appropriate to assess the hypothetical and potential risks associated with certain kinds of nanotechnologies and their engineered and adventitious products, how should existing methodologies be adapted and/or completed?
  3. In general terms, what are the major gaps in knowledge necessary to underpin risk assessment in the areas of concern?

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The Three-Level Structure used to communicate this SCENIHR Opinion is copyrighted by GreenFacts asbl/vzw