About this Publication on Nanotechnologies
- Source for this Publication
- The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
- Background to the SCENIHR opinion on nanotechnology products
- Specific questions put to the SCENIHR by the European Commission
1. Source for this Publication
The texts in level 3 are directly sourced from:
“Risk Assessment of Products of Nanotechnologies”, a report produced in 2009 by the SCENIHR (Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks) of the European Commission.
Levels 1 and 2 were written by Dr Jon Turney.
2. The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) is one of three independent non-food scientific committees which give scientific advice on consumer safety, public health and the environment. It was set up by the European Commission to consider in particular emerging issues arising from new technologies. The Committee provides opinions on emerging or newly identified health and environmental risks and on broad, complex or multidisciplinary issues requiring a comprehensive assessment of risks to consumer safety or public health and related issues not covered by other Community risk assessment bodies.
For further information on the SCENIHR see: http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/emerging/index_en.htm
3. Background to the SCENIHR opinion on nanotechnology products
The committee previously considered nanotechnology for the opinion on “The appropriateness of existing methodologies to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products of nanotechnologies", produced after public consultation in 2006.
In its opinion of 2006, the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) concluded that nanomaterials may have different toxicological and (eco)toxicological properties than the substances in bulk form. Therefore their risks need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and the risk assessment methods and instruments may require further development.
A second SCENIHR opinion, adopted in 2007, on "Nanomaterials in Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs) of chemicals legislation" concluded that the current methodologies described in the TGDs are generally likely to be able to identify the hazards, but modifications are required for the guidance on the assessment of risks to human health and the environment. A third report, also in 2007, considered what definitions within the nanotechnology area can be used for risk assessment.
The SCENIHR is expected to update and provide scientific advice on the risk assessment of nanomaterials in the light of new and upcoming scientific information.
4. Specific questions put to the SCENIHR by the European Commission
In its report, the Commission was asked:
- What are the direct or indirect health risks of current and foreseeable applications of nanomaterials?
- How can test methods be improved, and what new methods might be used to address specific aspects of nanotechnology?
- How can assessment of exposure to nanomaterials or particles be improved, and what are the specific exposures which may need to be tested?
- What further research is needed to improve knowledge of the possible risks of products of nanotechnologies?