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October 27, 2023

OECD Publishes Reports Concerning Advanced Materials in Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has posted two new reports in its Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials:

  • Advanced Materials Assessment Schemes HARMLESS — OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) Workshop Report (No. 107): The abstract states that to move forward in the assessment of currently available assessment schemes and evaluate their applicability as foresight tools to anticipate issues with the safety and sustainability of advanced materials, the consortium of the European Union (EU)-funded HARMLESS project organized an expert’s workshop in collaboration with the OECD Steering Group on Advanced Materials. Workshop participants reviewed four recently developed schemes and tested three of them using data from a selected HARMLESS case study on Aerogels, “an already commercially available façade insulation material with advanced properties over conventional thermal insulation materials.” The report summarizes the results “with the aim to evaluate current foresight schemes regarding their suitability for [advanced materials] and contribute building new and fine-tuning relevant existing schemes to address safety and sustainability issues in [advanced materials] development within the context of product development and regulatory preparedness in a timely manner.”
  • Early Awareness and Action System for Advanced Materials (Early4AdMa): Pre-regulatory and anticipatory risk governance tool to Advanced Materials (No. 108): The report states that Early4AdMa is proposed to identify and describe potential safety, sustainability, and regulatory issues of advanced materials at the early stages of their development or use. According to the report, the approach described is an adaptation of a system developed by the Netherland National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), the Germany Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), the German Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), and the German Environment Agency (UBA). The outcome of the approach can inform regulatory decision makers, policy makers, risk assessors, and regulators and could facilitate regulatory preparedness and making timely decisions to avoid or reduce safety and/or sustainability impacts. The report notes that as such, Early4AdMa can be considered as a pre-regulatory and an anticipatory risk governance tool, and it could be implemented in the development, production, use, and end-of-life of safer and more sustainable advanced materials and the products into which they are incorporated. Thereby, according to the report, the Early4AdMa system “may contribute to the delivery on solutions for societal and environmental challenges via application of advanced materials.”