Doctoral defence Steffen Foss Hansen

Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, Categorisation and Tools to Evaluate Nanomaterials - Opportunities and Weaknesses (REACT NOW)

Ass. Professor Steffen Foss Hansen
Technical University of Denmark

Opponents

Professor Nicholas A. Ashford, MIT Technology & Law Program, Cambridge, USA
Head of Executive Office Wim De Coen, European Chemicals Agency, Helsinki, Finland

Both opponents are appointed by DTU and have been part of the assessment committee with the chairman also appointed by DTU, Ass. Professor Stig Irving Olsen, DTU Management Engineering

Unofficial opponents are to address the moderator:

Provost Rasmus Larsen
Building 101A
Technical University of Denmark
Tel.: 45 25 71 42
e-mail: anlun@adm.dtu.dk

A copy of the dissertation can be obtained by contacting:

Anna-Maria Lund
Office of Research and Relations
Building 101A
Technical University of Denmark
Tel.: 45 25 71 42
e-mail: anlun@adm.dtu.dk



Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, Categorisation and Tools to Evaluate Nanomaterials - Opportunities and Weaknesses (REACT NOW)

English summary

Nanotechnology and nanomaterials (NMs) have become an integrated part of our lives in the past decade, whether we realise it or not, and we have entered a phase where the early hype about the benefits of this mind-blowing technology is over.

Concerns have been raised throughout this period about the adverse impacts of NMs, and although these have previously been very loud, they are now slowly quieting down.
Instead of implementing a regulatory framework tailored to NMs, the European Commission has initiated multiple reviews of state-of-the-scientific literature in regard to environmental, health and safety, and seems to be discussing the same risk assessment and regulatory challenges over and over.

This thesis summarises the state of research and regulatory affairs within the field of nanomaterial regulation and risk assessment. Specifically, the focus is on areas of research with which I have been involved since 2009 in regard to: 1) mapping current uses of NMs in Europe, 2) understanding the limitations of existing legislation and, finally, 3) addressing the restraints of risk assessment and alternatives to risk assessment when it comes to NMs.

In order to obtain an overview of consumer products in Europe that are claimed to contain NMs or are claimed to be based on nanotechnology, we established an online inventory, The Nanodatabase (www.nanodb.dk), back in 2012 and started systematically to collect information about the proclaimed nanoproducts name, producers “nanoclaim”, country of origin, used NMs, location of the NM in the product, most likely exposure route among other. The Nanodatabase originally contained a little more than 1,200 products and now has information about more than 3,000 products.

The safety evaluation tool, NanoRiskCat, was developed and integrated into The Nanodatabase with the purpose of communicating what is known about the hazard and exposure potential of consumer products containing NMs.

In order to address the potential risks of NMs and take the unique properties of NMs into account, a number of EU regulations and directives have been amended in recent years such as, for instance, the biocidal product regulation. However, the research presented in this thesis identifies three major weaknesses to the current regulation, namely how to define “nanomaterials”, threshold values and information requirements not tailored to the nanoscale and how to overcome the obstacles of chemical risk assessment applied to NMs.

The outcome of this research has led me to conclude that the fact that NMs are covered by the scope of existing legislation is not enough to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. We therefore need a new regulatory framework tailored for NMs and their applications. A proposal of such a framework termed “Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, Categorisation and Tools to Evaluate Nanomaterials – Opportunities and Weaknesses (REACT NOW)” is proposed and presented herein. REACT NOW is the first attempt to present a comprehensive and transparent decision-making framework tailored to regulate the use of NMs, but as no framework is without either potential or limitations, the opportunities and weaknesses related to the implementation of REACT NOW are pinpointed.

Time

Mon 19 Mar 18
14:00 - 18:00

Organizer

DTU

Where

DTU. Lyngby Camous

Anker Engelunds Vej 1

Building 101 A, meeting room 1 (1st floor)