Safe approach to nanotechnology – BSI British Standards publishes new guidance for UK industry

Press release - 29 January 2008

Don’t know your nanorod from your nanoribbon? Want to find out what nanomaterials are in the products you buy? Could the safe handling of nanomaterials be improved? Nine new nanotechnology publications lead the way.

BSI British Standards today announces the publication of nine documents for nanotechnology terminology and guidance for UK industry which will support worker, public and environmental safety and underpin commercialization and procurement.

The worldwide market for nanotechnology-enabled products is expected to exceed $1 trillion a year by 2015, and nanotechnologies are already used in medicine, ‘green technology’, and in over 500 consumer products as varied as laptops, sunscreen, tennis rackets and socks. To support this rapidly expanding enabling technology and to enable its safe application, BSI British Standards has drawn together industry expertise to create common definitions for nano-related products and guidance on labelling, safe handling and materials specification.

PAS 130 is a voluntary guide to the labelling of products containing manufactured nanoparticles. This will help to ensure that all users are aware of the nanoparticle content of products they are purchasing, selecting or handling, reducing confusion among the public faced with a new technology. PD 6699-1 offers good practice guidance on ‘specifying nanomaterials’ which ensures that a product behaves in an expected and reproducible way. PD 6699-2 offers practical advice for those working in this field on the safe everyday handling and disposal of nanomaterials.

Six terminologies (PAS 131-136) complete this suite of documents and will be fundamental in promoting common understanding and consistent usage of the various terms associated with nanotechnologies. For example, PAS 131:2007, Terminology for medical, health and personal care applications of nanotechnology, includes definitions of:

nanorod : nanobject with two similar external dimensions in the nanoscale and the third dimension significantly larger than the other two external dimensions

nanoribbon : nanorod flattened in one of its shorter dimensions.

Mike Low, Director of BSI British Standards, said, “Standardization has a key part to play in all innovative technologies and nanotechnology is no exception. The industry’s knowledge of nanomaterials is still at a relatively early stage and it is therefore crucial that it has best practice guidance available to it. BSI has brought together the best available expertise to create these nine nanotechnology documents.

“This project is part of BSI’s overall initiative to support the innovation agenda of UK government and these new documents were developed in partnership with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.”

Peter Hatto, Chair of the UK national committee on nanotechnologies, said, “These nine new documents continue the UK’s innovative work to develop standards for this important new field, which started with the publication of PAS 71 – Vocabulary for nanoparticles. The publications mark the beginning of an exciting work programme for 2008 and beyond.”

The nine nanotechnology documents recently published are as follows:
PAS 131, Terminology for medical, health and personal care applications of nanotechnologies;
PAS 132, Terminology for the bio-nano interface;
PAS 133, Terminology for nanoscale measurement and instrumentation;
PAS 134, Terminology for carbon nanostructures;
PAS 135, Terminology for nanofabrication;
PAS 136, Terminology for nanomaterials.

PD 6699-1, Nanotechnologies – Part 1: Good practice guide for specifying manufactured nanomaterials
PD 6699-2, Nanotechnologies – Part 2: Guide to safe handling and disposal of manufactured nanomaterials
PAS 130, Guidance on the labelling of manufactured nanoparticles and products containing manufactured nanoparticles

All nine publications are available to download from the Nanotechnologies microsite

Further Information:
The UK holds both the chair and secretariat of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee, ISO/TC 229 "Nanotechnologies", and the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) committee, CEN/TC 352 "Nanotechnologies".