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May 8, 2017

JRC Publishes NANoREG Framework for the Safety Assessment of Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The European Commission (EC) Joint Research Center (JRC) has published a Science for Policy report entitled NANoREG framework for the safety assessment of nanomaterials.  The report was developed within the NANoREG project, “A common European approach to the regulatory testing of nanomaterials.”  The NANoREG framework represents the project’s proposal for a common understanding in the field of environmental health and safety (EHS) assessment of nanomaterials under the current European regulatory framework, with focus on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation.  The report is also intended to contribute to the ongoing debate on the need to facilitate the implementation of REACH for nanomaterials.  The key conclusions note that the EC, the European Chemicals Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the scientific community “have worked closely together in recent years to improve the knowledge on EHS of [nanomaterials], remove hurdles and concretely help stakeholders in addressing regulatory requirements for [nanomaterials].”  The report states that several nanospecific issues are still difficult to address efficiently, however, and may hamper the safety assessment of nanomaterials.  NANoREG analyzed the means of overcoming these obstacles and. according to the report, “partners consider Safe-by-Design (SbD), Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and a Nanospecific approach to Prioritisation and Risk Assessment (NanoRA) valuable paths for exploration by scientists, industry and regulators to achieve a more efficient medium to long-term implementation of REACH principles for [nanomaterials].  Clearly, those three forward-looking strategies need to be further developed, tested and debated before a decision can be made on how far they are actually relevant for assessment methodology under REACH and, if so, how they can be properly implemented at both industrial and regulatory level.”  The report notes that the NANoREG partners, including JRC, “believe that the proposed framework will be useful for scientific experts and stakeholders, such as regulatory authorities and industry.”