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Guest Writer - Gastautor - Gast Schrijver


( www.nanoregulation.ch )



The first international multi stakeholder- pl atform on regulatory topics of nanotechnology was launched in Switzerland by “die Innovationsgesellschaft” and presented at the Nano-Regulation Conference on 14 th September in St.Gallen. The pl atform is supported by government, industry and research organisations.


Dr. Christoph Meili

CEO, Die Innovationsgesellschaft, St.Gallen


1. Background

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?

•  Which 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 lawsuits ?

•  Do we need specific thresholds of NP in terms of occupational health safety?

•  How 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.


2. Objcetives of the pl atform "Nano-Regulation"

The objectives of this transdisci pl inary pl atform are:

•  Establishing an international network of comptence on regulatory issues

•  Identification, differentiation and priorisation of relevant topics

•  Development of concrete proposals and tools for the handling of NP (e.g. guidelines for the safe usage of NP in Labs and manufacturing processes)

•  Coordination of national and international (EU, OECD) activities in the regulatory field.

•  Providing relevant and valuable information quickly to the stakeholders.

•  Localising possible synergies between the industries, authorities and other stakeholders


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.


5. Organisation and further information:

The pl atform is organised and coordinated by Christoph Meili. For further information, pl ease contact:


Die Innovationsgesellschaft Tel.: +41 (0) 71 274 74 17

Dr. Christoph Meili Mob: + 41(0) 76 326 77 97

Lerchenfeldstr. 5 christoph.meili@innovationsgesellschaft.ch

CH - 9014 St.Gallen





Die Innovationsgesellschaft (the Innovation Society – Is a center of excellence in Innovation- and Risk-management services in new technologies. The company is based at the Technology Center of The Swiss Materials Science and Technology Institution (EMPA) in St.Gallen.

web: www.innovationsgesellschaft.ch


The contents of this page, including the views expressed above, are the responsibility of the author. They do not represent the views or policies of Nano Tsunami Dot Com, except where explicitly stated.



Dr. Christoph Meili

Die Innovationsgesellschaft mbH



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