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U.S. Standards Efforts Support Assessment of Manufactured Nanomaterials Released in Consumer Products


In an effort to support decision-making related to the safe measurement of manufactured nanomaterials (MNM) released in consumer products, a new technical report co-led by the U.S. and Canada provides guidance for numerous sectors that use MNM. The report was a project of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Technical Committee (TC) 229, Nanotechnologies, Working Group 3, Health, safety and environment. Experts from the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO/TC 229 spearheaded the guidance. ANSI, which administers the U.S. TAG for ISO TC 229, is the U.S. member body to ISO.

New Technical Report on Manufactured Nanomaterials

The document, ISO Technical Report22293 - Evaluation of methods for assessing the release of nanomaterials from commercial, nanomaterial-containing polymer composites, reviews and evaluates the utility of available methods to assess material released from commercial polymer composites in support of product use and safety decisions, and describes what revised or additional methods are needed. The report builds on international efforts initiated by the NanoRelease project, a self-governed consortium established in 2010, comprised of international experts from government, industry, and consumer safety organizations.

Background on Manufactured Nanomaterials

While nanoscale materials are too small to be seen with the naked eye, MNM are often used in the production of various consumer products and processes, including cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, sunscreen, paints, electronics, and stain-repellent fabrics as just a few examples. However, due to their unique properties and uptick of use of MNM in production, questions regarding the safety of manufactured nanomaterials (MNM) in products have escalated in recent years.

Supported by input from nanomaterial experts, the new guidance was developed to provide understanding about the potential for exposure from nanomaterials contained in products, which requires an evaluation of the potential for release of those nanomaterials from products.

The technical report focuses on providing practical support for decisions related to MNM release and potential exposure in realistic use scenarios for risk managers, product developers, and other scientists looking for guidance and direction in their MNM research. Without reliable information on what might be released from products containing nanomaterials, credible evaluations of risk are difficult to conduct, and effective risk management and innovation are impeded. The document does not describe methods per se; rather the goal is to describe information that is appropriate for consideration in the selection of methods to support decision-making.

Dr. Mark Ballentine of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center and Dr. Andrew Atkinson of Health Canada co-led the efforts of ISO TC 229, Nanotechnologies, Working Group 3.

"The technical report is an excellent example of collaboration between U.S. and Canadian nanotechnology experts and other international partners," said Dr. Vladimir Murashov, chair of the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229 and convenor of ISO TC 229 WG 3. "The document helps to address one of the main safety-related questions around nanotechnology: What is the extent of nanomaterial release from nanomaterial-containing products during their use?"

"The U.S. experts demonstrate commitment, energy, and excellence in their work, and Mark and his team exemplify this with this newly published work," said Richard Pleus, founder, CEO, and chief toxicologist of Intertox and chair of the U.S. TAG to ISO TC 229 WG 3. "Their dedication to the mission of making nanomaterials safe shows a strong commitment to making the world a better place."

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Jana Zabinski

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Beth Goodbaum

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