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November 12, 2007

Swedish Chemicals Agency Releases Recommendations Regarding Nanotechnology

Lynn L. Bergeson

The Swedish Chemicals Agency (KemI) recently released a report entitled Nanotechnology — Large Risks with Tiny Particles? Although the report is in Swedish, it includes a summary in English. According to the report, the rapid development of new fields of application and a lack of knowledge call for caution. The report states that companies are responsible for ensuring that human health and the environment are not damaged and that legislation needs to be extended to cover nanomaterials.

The report includes the following recommendations for government regulators:

  • The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA) should draw up a strategy for nanotechnology research and development, which includes knowledge about risks to human health and the environment;
  • Special research funds should be allocated for the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences, and Spatial Planning (Formas) for research about the health and environmental risks of nanomaterials;
  • KemI should follow developments in the area and propose measures whenever it is justified, and participate actively in the development of new or modified testing methods within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) cooperative framework;
  • KemI should produce a deeper analysis of the use of nanomaterials in chemical products and articles, after consultation with the trade organizations concerned;
  • Instruct the governmental agencies concerned to review the need for complementing existing legislation; and
  • Arrange, in the context of Sweden’s European Union (EU) presidency in 2009, a workshop on how the health and environmental risks of nanotechnology should be addressed by legislation.