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International Standard Supports Advancements in Nanotechnology

From aerospace and information technology to medicine and clean energy production, nanotechnology is changing the world we live in.

Nanotechnology, which refers to research and development at the atomic, molecular, and macromolecular levels, is revolutionizing virtually all technology and industry sectors. With the growth of nanotechnology-based products across multiple disciplines, ensuring the safety and environmental impact of nano products is paramount to tapping into the technology's full potential.

A new standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) helps to ensure safe utilization of nanoparticles. ISO 10808:2010, Nanotechnologies - Characterization of nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for inhalation toxicity testing, outlines requirements for the characterization of airborne nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for the purpose of inhalation toxicity studies. The standard takes into account the particular characteristics of nanoparticles, including particle mass, size distribution, concentration, and composition, and is anticipated to encourage the use of consistent characterization methods by researchers worldwide.

ISO 10808:2010 was authored by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 229, Nanotechnologies, Working Group (WG) 3, Health, Safety and Environment, which is U.S.-led. The group operates under the leadership of Steven Brown of the Intel Corporation with Laurie Locascio, Ph.D., from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) serving as U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Working Group chair.

"This standard is an important step forward in putting in place an internationally accepted, scientific means of characterizing nanoparticles used in inhalation toxicity testing," said Clayton Teague, Ph.D., director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) and chair of the ANSI-accredited U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229. "Because of the complex nature of these materials, the recommended methods are not intended to address all characterization needs for all types of inhalation toxicity testing. These efforts are ongoing."

Significant contributions in the field have emerged from this ISO TC, including the recently published ISO technical specification, ISO/TS 80004-1:2010, Nanotechnologies - Vocabulary - Part 1: Core terms. The Technical Specification lists terms and definitions related to core terms in the field of nanotechnologies. It is intended to facilitate communications between organizations and individuals in industry and those who interact with them.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) administers the U.S. TAG for ISO TC 229. The TAG formulates all U.S. positions and proposals with respect to a particular ISO committee's activities.

Participation on the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229 is open to all materially affected U.S. national interested parties. For more information, please contact the TAG administrator, Heather Benko ([email protected]).


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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