EC Establishes Nanomaterials Repository

The European Commission (EC) announced its Joint Research Centre (JRC) has established a repository of nanomaterials representing 25 different types of reference nanomaterials, including titanium dioxide, to support safety assessments as well as ensure consumer protection and confidence in various applications and products.

According to the EC, nanotechnology is one of today's most promising technological developments, so by enabling a harmonized risk assessment, this repository can contribute to the success of nanotechnology and its application in products. The group notes that standardized methodologies and materials are necessary to obtain comparable test results worldwide and to provide reliable data for policy and regulatory decision-making.

Launching the repository, Elke Anklam, director of the JRC Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP), said in a press statement, "This unique repository fosters standardization in safety assessment and facilitates innovation by creating a common and consistent measurement framework for all stakeholders. This will both support international harmonization bodies for standardizing risk assessment as well as EU policy makers for regulatory issues."

Since nanomaterials offer a range of benefits and enable the development of innovative applications and products, in order to capitalize on them, in the best sense, the EC reports it is essential to set a well-considered regulatory framework covering issues related to safe practices in the manufacturing process, consumer health and protection of the environment. Such a framework depends on harmonized and science-based risk assessment.

Further, in order to ensure the comparability of the underlying data obtained in the many international test laboratories, the availability of representative reference nanomaterials is essential. According to the EC, this repository of nanomaterials was thus created by the JRC in response to the need for safety assessment testing in major international standardization bodies.

Specifically, the repository includes most nanomaterials currently assumed to be used in significant volumes in consumer products. The nanomaterials in the repository were produced in collaboration with the German Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology (IME) under Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) conditions. The 25 types of materials include: carbon nanotubes, silver nanoparticles, titanium dioxide, cerium oxide, zinc oxide, bentonite, gold and silicon dioxide. For more information, visit the JRC website.

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