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For BfR nanotechnology is particularly relevant in the context of consumer protection. As new materials produced using nanotechnology are increasingly being used in production processes and consumer products, the safety and risk issues of nanotechnology are taking on increasing urgency. Potentially harmful effects could result from:
- the nature of the nano particles themselves (for example their chemical and physical reactivity),
- the properties of products made from nano particles,
- aspects of the production process
There is a need for research particularly in the field of early risk detection.
Delphi survey on the risks of nanotechnology applications
In 2006 BfR carried out a research project that looked at the early detection of nanotechnology risks. In the research project "Delphi survey of the risks of nanotechnology applications in the fields food, cosmetics and consumer products”, the potential risks of nanotechnology in consumer areas were to be identified at an early stage, the implications of increasing use of nanotechnology by consumers were to be examined and management strategies for the prevention or reduction of possible risks were to be developed.
The following questions were addressed:
- Which applications of nanotechnology are viable or probable in the areas food, cosmetics and consumer products in the future?
- Which risks and adverse effects can be anticipated in conjunction with what seem to be viable short or medium-term applications of nanotechnology in consumer areas? Are there risks for visionary applications?
- Which applications of nanotechnology appear to involve considerable risks for consumers in the opinion of experts and what is the basis for this assessment?
- What need for action does this identify for the BfR risk assessment activities?
Research strategy on nanotechnology
On the initiative of and co-ordinated by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA), BfR, BAuA and the Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) have developed a joint research strategy on nanotechnology. This takes a closer look at the health and environmental risks of non-soluble nano particles. The contents were presented and discussed at a joint seminar of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) and the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) on 30 November 2006 at the BMU.
|Nanotechnology: Health and environmental risks of nanomaterials||
Draft, August 2006
|Nanotechnology: Health and Environmental Risks of Nanoparticles - Research Strategy||
Press information(3 documents)
|Nanotechnology in the focus of consumer health protection|
|Positive image of nanotechnology in the media|
|The majority of consumers view the development of nanotechnology favourably|