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February 19, 2019

EU NanoSafety Cluster Announces Its Support of the Malta Initiative

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On February 18, 2019, the European Union (EU) NanoSafety Cluster (NSC) announced that it is supporting the Malta Initiative by linking various projects with activities developed within the Malta Initiative.  According to NSC’s website, the Malta Initiative began in 2017, when Germany approached the EU Directorate-General (DG) for Research and Innovation to request political and financial support to develop and amend Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Test Guidelines and Guidance Documents to ensure that nano-specific issues for fulfilling regulatory requirements are addressed.  It is a self-organized group without any legally binding status.  In line with existing OECD procedures, any country or organization with expertise interested in working on adapting existing OECD Test Guidelines or developing new OECD Test Guidelines and/or Guidance Documents is welcome to become an active contributor.  The activities of the Malta Initiative are supported through national, international, and EU resources by means of direct funding, in-kind contributions, or providing expertise.  Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Commission (EC), and OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) currently support the Malta Initiative.

The Malta Initiative Board was formed to facilitate and steer the activities of the Malta Initiative.  Board members were selected to represent EU Member States, EC DGs and agencies, NSC, and industry (notably through BIAC).  Furthermore, according to NSC, members have been selected “to include renowned experts from three relevant fields of expertise, namely:  physical-chemical characterization; environmental and biotic effects; and human health effects.”  The board members also have strong links to various OECD working parties and other groups are familiar with OECD working practices and procedures.  Members (sorted by last name) include:

  • Flemming Cassee (deputy Eugenia Valsami-Jones), NSC (EU);
  • Emeric Frejafon, Institut national de l’environnement industriel et des risques (France);
  • Monique Groenewold (deputy Eric Bleeker), National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) (The Netherlands);
  • Elisabeth Heunisch, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) (Germany);
  • Jenny Holmqvist (deputy Celia Tanarro), ECHA (EU);
  • Anke Jesse, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) (Germany) — chair;
  • Thomas Kuhlbusch, BAuA (Germany);
  • Juan Riego-Sintes (deputy Kirsten Rasmussen), EC (Joint Research Center-Ispra) (EU);
  • Kathrin Schwirn (deputy Doris Völker), German Environment Agency (UBA) (Germany);
  • Jacques-Aurélien Sergent (deputy Karin Wiench), BIAC; and
  • Anne Mette Zenner Boisen, Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark (Denmark).