John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., is Chief Health Scientist.
At its most recent meeting a few weeks ago, the US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to the International Standards Organization (ISO) Technical Committee on Nanotechnologies approved a motion to have ISO develop a Technical Report based on the EDF-Dupont Nano Risk Framework (NRF). Or to put it another way in acronym-laden Washington-speak, the US TAG to the ANSI-accredited ISO TC229 approved a TR based on the EDF-DD NRF.
The motion to submit the NRF as the basis for this ISO technical report did not come from either EDF or Dupont. Other members of the TAG took this on and helped adapt the NRF for submission to the ISO. The vote was unanimous: All 21 members were in favor of moving the NRF forward in this way.
Surprising? In some ways yes, some ways no. A technical report is not a standard, and so countries and companies will not be bound to apply the report fully to their practices as they would an ISO standard. Nonetheless, representatives of a number of US industries are supporting the information-based approach to nanotechnology risk management incorporated in the NRF. And those of us concerned about the health effects of nanomaterials can support that.
The next step will be convening the TAG in Shanghai in November to review the document and start taking comments from the other country delegations. EDF will be there to try to ensure that the principles and science-based prudent approaches of the NRF are supported and are retained in the official ISO guidance.