nanotehnoloogia, nanoteknologia, nanotechnologija, nanotehnologijas, nanoteknologija,
nanotechnologii, nanotecnologia, nanotehnologijo,
The European Commission launched
a public consultation on risk assessment methods
for nanotechnologies on 20 October.
Nanotechnology involves the controlled production of new materials, structures,
and devices which have one or more dimensions thousands of times smaller than
the diameter of a human hair. The nanoscale confers new technological properties
which may however have potential implications for safety and therefore need
to be assessed in advance.
EU Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, Markos Kyprianou, declared,
'The competitiveness of a society depends greatly on how amenable it is to
new developments and technologies. We must avoid a situation where the marketing
of highly innovative nanotechnology products is obstructed by difficulties
in providing consumers with the safety assurances they seek. Unquestionably,
consumer safety remains the first and highest priority. That is why we are
looking for the most appropriate way to carry out risk assessments that will
assure the safety of Europeans and build confidence in nanotechnology.'
Nanotechnologies are expected to make a major contribution to improving the
quality of the life of European citizens, in particular in sectors such as
material sciences, health care, information technology, and the environment.
The Commission acknowledges this fact, as well as the huge potential contribution
of nanotechnologies to the furthering to European competitiveness. This was
the rationale behind the high priority given to research and development on
this area in the European Commission's Sixth Framework Programme for Research
and Technological Development (FP6). An even higher profile has been proposed
for this technology under FP7.
In response to a request from the Commission, the independent experts of the
Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)
recently adopted an opinion on 'the appropriateness of existing methodologies
to assess the potential risks associated with engineered and adventitious products
of nanotechnologies'. This opinion looks at the limitations of current risk
assessment methods in addressing the specific characteristics of the products
on nanotechnologies and where improvements could be made. Although the focus
is very much on the methods of risk assessment, rather than the actual risks
of nanotechnologies, SCENIHR also carefully considered health and environmental
factors that would need to be taken into account.
Now, the Commission, in consultation with the Committee, is inviting interested
stakeholders to submit their views on the SCENIHR opinion online. The consultation
will run until 16 December. The online consultation aims to gather feedback
on the appropriateness of current risk assessment methods for nanotechnology
products and how they can be improved. As background information for the public,
the Commission has also published a document (MEMO/05/385) with questions and
answers on risk assessment of nanotechnology products.
Once the consultation is closed, SCENIHR and the Commission services will carefully
examine all comments in order to further refine approaches to risk assessment
of nanotechnology products. The outcome of this process will be available online.
To read SCENIHR's opinion and access
the consultation, please visit:
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