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March 9, 2020

EUON Publishes Nanopinion on Use of the Term “Nanoplastics”

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On March 3, 2020, the European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) published a Nanopinion entitled “‘Nanoplastics’ — it’s a name game.”  Claire Skentelbery, Director General, Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA), reviews the difference between engineered (manufactured) nanomaterials and naturally originating (incidental) nanomaterials.  Skentelbery notes that use of the term “nanoplastics,” without describing their origins, “risks the perception that the plastic particles now being found throughout our ecosystems were intentionally produced.”  Skentelbery suggests that researchers and companies in the engineered nanomaterials sector can “play a very positive role in helping to identify and understand the incidental nanoplastics that are increasingly visible to us in our landscape.”  Rapid advances in characterizing and understanding engineered nanomaterials will help scientists worldwide to find, identify, and understand the biological interactions of incidental nanoplastics and address their impact on the environment.  Skentelbery concludes that “[t]his can enable all measures necessary to reduce their occurrence, reaching back up through the long industrial and societal pathway through which they were produced.”  Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is a proud NIA member.