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ISO TC 229 Nanotechnologies Lays Roadmaps for International Standards

New York, Jul 12, 2006

More than seventy-five delegates from sixteen countries gathered recently in Tokyo, Japan, for the second plenary meeting of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee (TC) 229 on nanotechnologies. The purpose of the meeting was to develop the plans and roadmaps that will advance the committee’s efforts to develop international standards for the emerging field.

The technical committee approved a U.S.-submitted proposal for a work item addressing occupational safety relative to nanotechnologies. While nanotechnology is expected to advance discoveries in medicine, biotechnologies, energy, and other areas, its effects on health and the environment are largely unknown, causing advocacy groups around the globe to call for increased research and testing in this area.

The occupational safety work item will be led by the ISO TC 229 working group on health, safety, and the environment, which is convened by the United States. Vladimir Murashov of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health will serve as project leader and facilitate the development of the work item.

“The initial focus of the group will be on documenting the current practices being employed to control occupational exposures to nanomaterials,” said Steve Brown, convenor of the working group. “Subsequently, the group will develop a prioritized list of future ISO TC 229 environmental, health, and safety standards that are deemed necessary to safely utilize future nanotechnologies.”

In conjunction with the plenary session, the ISO TC 229 working groups on terminology and nomenclature; measurement and characterization; and health, safety and the environment held two days of developmental meetings. The working groups sought to build frameworks for their respective activities and to identify criteria for use in evaluating and selecting future standards. During these meetings, the U.S. delegation announced its intention to submit additional proposals within all three work areas.

The next ISO TC 229 meeting will be held in December 2006 in Seoul, Korea.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) established the ANSI Nanotechnology Standards Panel (ANSI-NSP) in 2004 to coordinate the development of voluntary, consensus standards for nanotechnology applications. Priority areas of nanotechnology standardization identified by the ANSI-NSP include nomenclature/terminology; materials properties; and testing, measurement and characterization procedures.

For information on becoming a member of the U.S. TAG or the ANSI-NSP, contact Heather Benko, ANSI program administrator (; 212-642-4912).

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