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January 23, 2015

Switzerland Announces Continuation of Action Plan for Synthetic Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on December 17, 2014, that the Federal Council decided to continue the action plan for synthetic nanomaterials until 2019.  The objectives of the action plan include:

  • Development of regulatory framework conditions for the responsible handling of synthetic nanomaterials;
  • Creation of scientific and methodical conditions aimed at identifying and preventing potential harmful effects of synthetic nanomaterials on health and the environment;
  • Promotion of the public dialogue about opportunities and risks of nanotechnology; and
  • Better utilization of existing tools for the development and rollout of sustainable nanotechnology applications.

FOPH states that the creation of regulatory framework conditions is divided into two phases.  Phase 1 (short- and medium-term) calls for strengthening corporate responsibility through different tools (precautionary matrix, guide to self-regulation, support of private-sector codes of conduct, guidelines for nano-specific SDSs, improved consumer information, and disposal guide).  Phase 2 (medium- and long-term) calls for the development of legal framework conditions for the safe handling of synthetic nanomaterials (review of measures exceeding existing provisions and coordination with developments abroad).