Global corporations adapt to nanomaterial EHS challenges

A recent report from Lux Research suggests that global corporations are now shifting their nanotechnology strategies to encompass environmental, health and safety (EHS) issues.

Lux carried out a survey amongst top executives at 31 global corporations active in nanotechnology and the study concluded that

65% of global corporations had a high awareness of nanotechnology
nearly every company had a nanotechnology strategy
all the companies interviewed had external cooperation with universities, start-ups or other companies as part of their strategy suggesting that cost and risk sharing collaborations were attractive to them
EHS issues were seen as an increasing priority, including such collaborations, and that dealing with risks and regulations was seen as crucial to profits

UK body calls for more testing and governance of nanomaterials

In a new study on novel materials, the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution considers that there is a pressing need for more testing, extending existing governance arrangements and formulating new controls in the rapidly expanding field of nanomaterials.

In looking at potential risks, the Commission concluded that, rather than just their size, it was the functionality, mode of action and behaviour of new nanomaterials that needs to be evaluated.

While the Commission found no evidence of harm to human health or to the environment or need for a ban or moratorium, they acknowledged that development of the technology was still at an early stage and that testing was still relatively limited. The Chair of the Commission also stressed the need to extend the coverage of the REACH Regulation as a matter of some urgency.

NIST, NCI and other major US stakeholders propose online nanotechnology standards development forum

At a recent workshop on Enabling Standards for Nanomaterials Characterization hosted by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), attendees strongly endorsed the concept for online standards collaboration following a demonstration of a prototype collaborative website by the National Cancer Institute’s Advanced Biomedical Computing Centre.

Canada set to become first country to require engineered nanomaterial reporting

Canada is set to launch the world’s first compulsory engineered nanomaterial reporting scheme. Starting in February 2009, companies and other organizations manufacturing or importing more than 1kg of such a nanomaterial during the 2008 calendar year will be requested to provide information relating to its use. The information gathered will be used to evaluate the risks of engineered nanomaterials as well as safety measures to protect health and environment, and will also be used in the development of a future regulatory framework.

The Canadian initiative comes shortly after the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an interim report noting the lack of industrial data available on nanoscale materials and considering the use of the US Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to gather more risk data.