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February 16, 2023

ECOS and BUND Publish Recommendations for the Testing of Nano- and Advanced Materials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On February 15, 2023, the Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS) and the Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND), non-governmental organizations in Europe working on both standardization and nanotechnologies, announced the release of a report entitled “Making nano- and advanced materials safe for all: State of play of discussions at the OECD.” According to the organizations, the use of nanomaterials remains underregulated in the European Union (EU). The press release states that the main issue is that there are still many unknowns in the nanomaterial domain. To date, research has focused only on a few types of nanomaterials, and the majority of commercialized nanomaterials remain under the radar of regulators. The organizations recommend the following for the testing of nano- and advanced materials:

  • EU member states and industry needs to adopt a strong precautionary approach to nanomaterials and advanced materials, especially when uncertainties regarding their properties remain;
  • National administrations and international organizations must set up the right governance framework. Among other things, this framework must ensure that the industry shares information at the earliest stages in the design of new nanomaterials and advanced materials;
  • Where Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Test Guidelines exist but are not yet adapted to nanomaterials and advanced materials, this should be done while fully addressing all health and environmental concerns. They should enable robust testing and result interpretation; and
  • The EU must update its regulations regularly to make full use of the OECD Test Guidelines. The use of OECD Test Guidelines must support the development of a more robust EU policy framework for nanomaterials, leading to dedicated regulatory measures.