As usual I found the information about last year’s public consultation on the Interim Policy Statement on Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials in an OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) report. The report which includes an accounting from several member countries including Canada about a range of activities relating to nanomaterial safety is titled, OECD Environment, Health and Safety Publications Series on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials, No. 29: Current Developments/Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials Tour De Table at The 8th Meeting of the Working Party On Manufactured Nanomaterials, Paris, France 16-18 March 2011.
Here’s what the report had to say about the public consultation on the interim policy statement,
The six month web-based public consultation for the Interim Policy Statement on Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials ended on August 31, 2010. A total of 29 submissions were received from a range of stakeholders. The majority of comments were received from industry; however, public interest groups, government bodies, and private individuals also submitted comments. The comments focussed on the process of the development of the working definition, the content or meaning of particular terms, and its application or use. Health Canada is currently reviewing and considering all comments received as well as key developments of other definitions of nanomaterials, including those of the International Organisation for Standardisation and the European Commission. (p. 24)
I last posted an update about this public consultation in my Jan. 20, 2011 posting. From my posting,
A reader sent in a response to a query about the public consultation’s status since it closed Aug. 31, 2011.
Consultation Results – Interim Policy Statement on Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials
Thank you for your interest in the Interim Policy Statement on Health Canada’s Working Definition for Nanomaterials (Interim Policy Statement). Extensive comments were received from a wide-range of stakeholders.
Health Canada is currently reviewing and considering all comments, and any necessary revisions to the Interim Policy Statement. Further information on how Health Canada will address these comments, including any possible amendments to the policy statement will be made available on Health Canada’s Web site soon. Stakeholders will be notified at that time. [emphasis mine]
Science Policy Directorate/La direction des politiques scientifiques
Strategic Policy Branch/Direction générale de la politique stratégique
Health Canada/Santé Canada
I guess they were still counting the responses in January so they could be ready for the March report in Paris. As for updates on the Health Canada site, the Health Canada webpage hosting the interim policy has not been updated since Feb. 11, 2010 according to the Date Modified notice at the bottom of the page.
Here’s an excerpt from the report about at least some of the nanomaterial scientific research and policy work taking place in Canada,
Health Canada is starting a research project to investigate the toxicity of surface-modified silica
nanoparticles entitled “Evaluation of Toxic Potency of Silica-based Nanoparticles using High-throughput Integrated In Vitro Cytotoxicity Assay Platform”. The aim of the project is to investigate the importance of size and surface modification on the toxicity of silica nanoparticles. The silica nanoparticles used in the project will be synthesised and modified according to specific parameters to better reflect those that are of greatest interest to the New Substances Program. This project is designed as a proof of concept and will be extended over the fiscal years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.
Canada has supported multiple research projects under the Strategic Grants Program of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). The nanomaterials used in these projects have included OECD priority nanomaterials such as TiO2. The projects examined fate both in the aqueous and the subsurface compartments and include establishing methodologies for suspension and physical-chemical characterisation of the nanomaterials prior to any exposure testing.
A larger Canadian initiative is a multidisciplinary, 3-year collaborative project that brings together: 1) industry and academic/government researchers involved in the engineering and production of new and existing commercial nanomaterials, 2) representatives involved in the current regulatory testing industry that require new, cost-effective, time-sensitive, and efficient testing methods, 3) academic/government researchers who can develop and apply new technologies to the area of safe nanomaterials production and effective ecotoxicology testing, and 4) Canadian regulatory community. The goal of the project is to understand the fate and effects of nanomaterials (including OECD priority materials) in the aquatic environment, with specific themes targeting (1) synthesis; (2) characterisation in complex media; (3)
methods for biological effects testing; and (4) establishing collaborative dialogue between key stakeholders.
Funding and partnering opportunities are currently being considered by Canada to a) develop in-house analytical chemistry infrastructure for the measurement of nanoparticles in food; b) to assess the health effects of orally ingested nanomaterials for addressing exposure through food contamination from packaging materials, or through nanostructures in food additives; c) to evaluate the effects of nanomaterials in food on nutrient bioavailability, functionality and efficacy for addressing the regulation of nanotech products designed.
Canada is also currently engaged in both in-house and collaborative research projects involving a range of different nanomaterials (e.g., nanoparticulates of zero-valent iron, gold, silver, TiO2, single walled carbon nanotubes, and C60 fullerenes). Testing includes pulmonary and cardiovascular injury; reproductive, developmental and transgenerational effects; exposure and tissue penetration, interactive effects with microorganisms, immune defences, and genotoxicity. Alternative tests such as molecular (genomic/ proteomic) and cellular in vitro techniques play an important part of the repertoire for such investigations. Other on-going projects include developing bioassays and biomarkers for nanomaterials, harmonising and
standardising chemical and toxicological assays, toxicogenomics, evaluating fate in aquatic environments understanding the interaction of nanoparticles with microbial cells, soil effects research, and bioaccumulation and toxicity in benthic invertebrates.
Canada (Environment and Health Canada), together with Government agencies in the United States, Non- Governmental Organisations and Industry are supporting a project lead out of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) to look at releases of nanomaterials from industrial matrices (e.g., coatings). The purpose of the project is (a) to compile literature information on different test methodologies and nanomaterials used to study releases from matrices (e.g., coatings); and (b) develop standard methodologies (validated through round-robin testing) to quantify releases of nanomaterials from a matrix.
At the current stage, the Steering Committee for the project is selecting primary materials in advance of an expert workshop being planned in Fall 2011. The expert workshop will inform on path forward on a testing regime for the materials and matrices selected. Additional information can be found at
Canada participates in the project on Regulatory Framework for Nanotechnology in Food and Medical Products, The project is composed of two independent surveys addressing the same set of questions related to: (1) the regulatory frameworks being used to provide oversight for the use of nanotechnology in food and medical products, (2) the legislative frameworks relevant to these regulatory frameworks, and (3) relevant government-supported research programmes and institutions. The surveys have been circulated to member countries to be filled by March 2011.
The information generated by the surveys will be used to populate inventories, and draft a report on areas of shared interest and highlight opportunities for enhancing communication related to regulation and applications of nanotechnology in food and medical products. The report is expected to be completed in 2011/2012. (pp. 25-6)
Some of this looks familiar to me (these reports tend to regurgitate the same information for years) but there does seem to be more detail than usual in this report.