Nanosciences and Nanotechnololgies (NS + NT) belong to
the cutting-edge technologies of the 21 st century. In
many industries there are intensive research projects going
on. There are already many products on the market and a
whole bunch of possibly breathtaking products is yet to
come. In the field of engineering, medicine, food, textiles,
electronics, energy and IT there are many new opportunities seen
on the horizon.
On the other hand there is a nascent debate about the potential
risks of e.g. Nanoparticels (NP) to
human health and environment. While the potential toxic
effects of NP, especially dust and powders, have been
investigated only for a short time. Only very little
is known about potential negative effects of NP to
the environment. Due to the rapid technological progress
and the lack of robust risk data there is a dangerous “gap
of uncertainty” which could affect certain
stakeholders very seriously. There are urgent questions
to be answered:
Can nanosized particles, regulatoryly be
treated the same as “ordinary” chemical substances?
specific regulations are needed? (esp. product liability,
work pl ace and consumer safety)
Is “Nano-labelling” on
products and prescription on chemicals needed to avoid
we need specific thresholds of NP in terms of occupational
can regulation pace up with the technological development?
Currently there is no nanospecific regulatory framework
at all. To increase the legal certainty Die Innovationsgesellschaft ( www.innovationsociety ) a
Swiss Nanotech-consultancy group, initiated the pl atform “Nano-Regulation”.
Together with the Swiss federal office of public health
(BAG), the Swiss agency for Environment, forests and landscape
(BUWAL) and international industry companies this multi-stakeholder-
pl atform was launched.
Objcetives of the pl atform "Nano-Regulation"
The objectives of this transdisci pl inary pl atform are:
network of comptence on regulatory issues
and priorisation of relevant topics
of concrete proposals
and tools for
the handling of NP (e.g. guidelines for the safe usage
of NP in Labs and manufacturing processes)
national and international (EU, OECD) activities in the
Providing relevant and valuable information quickly
to the stakeholders.
synergies between the industries, authorities and other
3. Concept and focus of the pl atform
In order to identify and prioritise critical topics a
set of expert-interviews was conducted and evaluated and
two workshops were held earlier this year. The results
of these activities enlighted that occupational
health safety in labs and manufacturing processes
and product safety are the most
urgent topics which have to be discussed. In this context
a “code of conduct” and set of voluntary guidelines will
be developped in the next step. The participants of the
pl atform will have the unique opportunity to have direct
influence on these guidelines and profit from fast and
direct dissemination of information. Besides the health
and environment topics it`s pl anned to install a specific
database (Risk&Regulation-database) and provide communication
and coordination services to the participants. The activities
of the pl atform will start after the NanoEurope conference
and encompass several projects on different fields (health,
environment, communication). In Sept. 2006 the second “Nano-Regulation” conference
with a presentation and discussion of the achieved results
is already scheduled.
4. Participation at the pl atform
Any foreign or Swiss organisation (company, authority
NGO, university, etc.) can participate at the pl atform.
As the pl atform is financed by the stakeholders a financial
contribution of each organisation will guarantee that the
project is financed by all participating parties likewise.