OECD on Risks and Benefits of Nanomaterials

Innovation can bring benefits, but possible risks too. The emergence of nanotechnology, which manipulates barely visible materials for industrial purposes, is a case in point, and policymakers are taking a close look.

All kinds of nanomaterials are now found in common household items, from sports gear and sunscreens to socks and dresses, from beds and shampoos for pets to mobile phones and computer processors. Like any innovative technology, nanotechnology has the potential for producing unimagined benefits–and unintended risks. The OECD has been at the forefront of international efforts to minimise those risks since 2005. These days, co-operation is intensifying as nanomaterials become part of our everyday landscape.

Continue reading the OECD Observer article Nanomaterials: Getting the measure.

See all the information about OECD Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials. Research and development in nanotechnologies is directed toward understanding and creating improved materials, devices, and systems that exploit these new properties. Such properties have been found to be very useful for an increasing number of commercial applications, for example: protective coatings; light-weight materials; self-cleaning clothing, to name but a few.

But different properties mean that nanomaterials are differed from conventional molecules with respect to human health and environmental safety. The traditional testing and assessment methods used to determine the safety of traditional chemicals are not necessarily (fully) applicable to nanomaterials. There should be a responsible and co-ordinated approach to ensure that potential safety issues are being addressed at the same time as the technology is developing.

OECD Database on Research into the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials. This database is a global resource which collects research projects that address environmental, human health and safety issues of manufactured nanomaterials. This database helps identify research gaps and assists researchers in future collaborative efforts. The database also assists the projects of the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) as a resource of research information.

See also all the Publications in the Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials.

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