Nanotechnology: the challenge of the responsible use

The publication of UE regulation 1169/2011 that will enter to force on 13 December 2014 includes also dispositions about the labelling of nano-ingredients in food products.

It is another attempt to regulate at law level a new sector that now has several “degrees of freedom” which is the general system that gravitate around the nanotechnology and nanomaterial.

Today the European institutional and regulatory framework is surely:

  • Not clear
  • In constant progress
  • With deadlines in coming
On the other side, from the scientific point of view, the data available from the academic literature (total level of knowledge) are still not sufficient to make a quantitative assessment about safety of consumer goods containing nanomaterial. However, the scientific evidences, even if they are still limited, indicate specific features concerning the way in which the human body metabolized nanomaterial. 

The sector is brand new and constantly in progress so the risk assessment becomes very complex and it requires more innovative approaches.

The state of cognitive uncertainty has not stopped, during the last years, the use of nanotechnology and nanomaterial within the production chain of several and different sectors as construction, food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and packaging. This gave a great chance of develop to the new technology, thanks to the numerous benefits coming from it (increasing shelf life of food products, increasing the availability of nutrients, etc.)

In order to help companies that works with nanomaterial CSQA and Veneto Nanotech have realized an innovative standard: DT n.113 “Responsible management system of nanomaterial for consumer products".

It is a useful tool to analyze the knowledge and data about nanomaterial, in this way a company that use nanomaterial or products deriving from nanomaterial, can exploit this management system, which gives to companies:
  • A guideline for the collecting and evaluation of parameters used to quantify the exposition and effects of nanomaterial within a risk assessment.
  • A useful tool for the interpretation and measuring of parameters in terms of responsible management of productive process using nanomaterial (ASSESSMENTE PROCEDURE).
  • A guideline to identify the management elements which can determinate a higher level of responsible use of nanomaterial, for the maximum protection of clients and consumers.
 Key Elements of the standard:
  • The communication along the supply chain, from the supplier to the producer, until the final user. It is essential to collect and produce all the informations necessary to assure a responsible production and use of products containing or deriving from nanotechnology or nanomaterial.
  • The management system.
  • The assessment and attestation procedure together with the assessment of the adequacy and coherency of the system.
Propose of the standard:
  • To define a qualitative methodology for the evaluation of the degree of attention of the organization toward clients/consumers (assessment and attestation procedure).
  • To evaluate in a synthetically the level of exposition and the availability of data about toxicity.
  • To implement a procedure, which can integrate in the business, the latest indications at national, European and global level about the safe assessment of nanomaterial, and that can give support on the evaluation of the compliance to regulatory requirements based on the productive sector of the organization.
  • To give to the organization a tool easy to apply, without using a large amount of resources, which can be perfectly integrate with other management systems already present in the company.
  • To support the identification of criticalities in the management system about the responsible use of nanotechnology.
  • To give to the company a tool that eases the communication between the involved parts and that allows a homogenous evaluation, based on a unique and shared tool, which give the chance to face and compare data and assessments. (Benchmarking)

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