Download PDF
February 13, 2020

NIA Publishes Position Paper on Terminology of “Nanoplastics”

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On February 13, 2020, the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) published a position paper entitled ‘Nanoplastics’:  Use of suitable terminology for representation in waste, degradation of plastics and presence in the environment.  In the paper, NIA and its members urge caution and clarity when referring to plastics as small particles or fragments.  NIA states that “nanoplastics” is a “non-specific and ambiguous term, and qualifiers should be considered for accurate presentation to all audiences.”  NIA notes that incidental “nanoplastics,” or more specifically incidental plastic nanoscale materials, can be formed by degradation of plastics or from wear.  Manufactured “nanoplastics” (i.e., plastic nanomaterials) are “intentionally produced at the nanoscale to allow for specific product characteristics.  The presence of manufactured ‘nanoplastics’ within the environment is expected to be very low as they are incorporated into products (i.e. bound in a matrix).”  According to the position paper, “[t]o NIA’s current knowledge there are very few intentionally produced nanoplastics, with use largely restricted to scientific research within laboratories.”  Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. is a proud NIA member.