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November 18, 2013

Switzerland Updates Precautionary Matrix for Synthetic Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

In November 2013, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) updated its precautionary matrix for synthetic nanomaterials, which industry can use to assess nano-specific health and environmental risks of nanoproducts. FOPH states that the precautionary matrix “enables the structured assessment of the ‘nano-specific need for precautions’ when handling synthetic nanomaterials.” FOPH intends the matrix to assist industry with due diligence requirements, and their “duty to exercise self-control opposite employees, consumers and the environment.” According to FOPH, the precautionary matrix can identify “potentially risky applications,” allowing the initiation of precautionary measures to protect people’s health and the environment.  FOPH notes that the precautionary matrix “is upgraded in close cooperation with industry, science and trade as well as consumer and environmental organisations.”