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Nanomaterials FAQ

FAQ dated 18 October 2021

The term "nanos" comes from the Greek and means dwarf. The prefix "nano" denotes a billionth part, in this case of a metre (= 1 nanometre, nm). In general, a nanomaterial refers to a material with one or more external dimensions in the size range between 1 and 100 nm.

Specifically manufactured nanomaterials are the subject of the BfR's risk assessment. They can be produced in numerous forms from various chemical substances. Compared to conventional materials, nanomaterials have altered and, in some cases, even novel properties and functions that make them interesting for many areas of applications. However, this also requires special attention from a regulatory perspective.

Nanomaterials are now used in many areas of daily life, for example in cosmetic products, food packaging and numerous consumer goods. This is not always apparent to consumers. Specific labelling regulations apply to some product areas such as food and cosmetics.

Production volumes and the variety of forms are constantly increasing, which can also lead to an increased and possibly new type of exposure for consumers if nanomaterials are released from products, for example. It’s not possible to give a general answer whether nanomaterials or the products containing them pose health risks for consumers. Nanosafety research therefore deals with the potential risks of nanomaterials for human health and the environment.

The BfR has compiled selected questions and answers on nanomaterials in the following.

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Date Title Size
18.10.2021
FAQ dated
Nanomaterials FAQ 99.0 KB
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