Nanomaterials and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

Nanomaterials are defined as chemical substances or materials that are manufactured and used at a very small scale (down to 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, otherwise known as the nanoscale). Nanomaterials are developed to exhibit novel characteristics (such as increased strength, chemical reactivity or conductivity) compared to the same material without nanoscale features. 

The European Commission tells us that hundreds of products containing nanomaterials are already in use. Examples are batteries, coatings, anti-bacterial clothing etc. Analysts expect markets to grow to hundreds of billions of Euros by 2015. Nano innovation is expected in many sectors soon, including public health, information society, industry, innovation, environment, energy, transport, security and space.

Nanomaterials have the potential to improve the quality of life and to contribute to industrial competitiveness in Europe. However, the new materials may also pose risks to the environment and raise health and safety concerns.  The Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks is looking into these risks and is constantly publishing findings.

Also, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or OECD Chemicals Committee has established the Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials to address this issue and to study the practices of OECD member countries in regards to nanomaterial safety.

Hopefully this overview will get you started.  If you have specific questions on automating compliance practices for nanomaterials under the various regulatory umbrellas that pop up, review the top chemical software solution or contact Actio Corporation experts at http://www.actio.net.