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March 19, 2008

DEFRA Releases Updated VRS Guidance

Lynn L. Bergeson

On March 12, 2008, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released a supplementary guidance document for the Voluntary Reporting Scheme (VRS). DEFRA prepared the supplementary guidance document to complement the existing VRS guidance. Chapter 2 describes the rationale and benefits of the VRS. Chapter 3 provides a specific list of the relevant physical, chemical, toxicological, and ecotoxicological data to include when reporting under the VRS, and the relevant hazard, exposure, and risk context for the information requested.  Chapter 4 sets out a context and summary for nanomaterial hazard and risk to human health and the environment. DEFRA intends the VRS to develop a better understanding of the properties and characteristics of different engineered nanoscale materials, so enabling potential hazard, exposure, and risk to be considered.  According to DEFRA, “[b]uilding an evidence-base in this way will allow for a more informed debate about the nature of appropriate controls.”