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April 20, 2021

NIA Publishes Position Paper on Changing Regulatory Landscape and Language for the Nanoscale

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) has published a March 2021 position paper, A changing regulatory landscape and language for the nanoscale, that examines the transition from “nanomaterial” to “nanoforms” to reflect better the differences in nanomaterial properties both in relation to bulk counterparts and to nanoforms of the same substance.  In the paper, NIA describes a transition phase where the language of nanoforms is used more widely and examples of nanoform sets can be increasingly demonstrated in the public domain, while there is still a “significant” learning curve for both industry and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).  NIA recommends that all stakeholders reassess the language they use where relevant, “particularly when discussing hazard, and where non-specific terminology may be misleading and result in confusion and mistrust in the safety of substances at the nanoscale.”  NIA calls “for the use of the term ‘nanoform’ as a way of referring to specific nanomaterials within a given class.”  NIA states that it believes that the term “nanomaterial,” when used for a hazard profile description, “is too generic and ambiguous for regulatory purposes, and may undermine the long-term development of the nanotechnology industry.”  According to NIA, “[t]his change in concept and terminology will lead to greater confidence in nanoforms and support a wider acceptance of this key enabling technology, leading not only to the further development of advanced technologies but also to the growth of the nanoform market in the [European Union (EU)].”  Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is a proud NIA member.