Canada to enforce world's first mandatory reporting on engineered
31 January 2009
The Canadian government reportedly is planning to release in February
the world's first national regulation requiring companies to detail
their use of engineered nanomaterials, according to environmental
The information gathered under the requirement will be used to
evaluate the risks of engineered nanomaterials and will help to develop
appropriate safety measures to protect human health and the environment.
Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) experts have been urging
increased oversight of nanotechnologies in recent years, and note the
move by the Canadian government is a significant step for consumer and
"Nanotechnology is developing rapidly. People and the environment are
being increasingly exposed to new nanomaterials. Yet governments lack
information on the type, quantity and possible risks of nanoscale
materials being manufactured and used in products today. This is
information that is vital to ensuring the safe use of nanotechnology,"
according to Andrew Maynard, chief science advisor for PEN.
Canada's action comes shortly after the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) issued an interim report on its Nanoscale Materials
Stewardship Program, a voluntary information submission program that has
received limited industry participation.
The EPA report notes the lack of data the program garnered and says
the agency will consider how best to use the federal Toxic Substances
Control Act (TSCA) to gather more risk data. Previous studies by PEN
experts have concluded that TSCA is "extremely deficient," and that EPA
has not effectively used the tools it has under that law to address
nanotechnology, keeping the agency from identifying which substances are
nanomaterials and whether they pose a hazard.
PEN reports EPA and Nanotechnology: Oversight for the 21st Century
and Nanotechnology Oversight: An Agenda for the New Administration
highlight specific actions that can be taken under TSCA to obtain
crucial information on nanotechnology's risks. Both reports are
available online at:
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