According to Lynn Bergeson’s April 11, 2016 posting on Nanotechnology Now, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a document about harmonizing terminology for environmental health and safety of nanomaterials,
The European Commission (EC) Joint Research Center (JRC) recently published a report entitled NANoREG harmonised terminology for environmental health and safety assessment of nanomaterials, developed within the NANoREG project: “A common European approach to the regulatory testing of nanomaterials.”
The NANoREG harmonised terminology for environmental health and safety assessment of nanomaterials (PDF) has an unexpected description for itself on p. 8 (Note: A link has been removed),
Consistent use of terminology is important in any field of science and technology to ensure common understanding of concepts and tools among experts and different stakeholders, such as regulatory authorities, industry and consumers. Several terms in the field of environmental health and safety (EHS) assessment of nanomaterials (hereinafter NMs) have been indeed defined or used by the scientific community and various organisations, including international bodies, European authorities, and industry associations.
This is true for multidisciplinary projects such as NANoREG, which aims at supporting regulatory authorities, and industry, in dealing with EHS issues of manufactured NMs (‘nanoEHS’) (http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/107159_en.html,www.nanoreg.eu). Terminology thus plays an important role in NANoREG’s internal process of producing diverse types of output with regulatory relevance (e.g. physicochemical characterisation and test protocols, grouping and read-across approaches, exposure models, a framework for safety assessment of NMs, etc.). The process takes place in a collaborative effort across severalNANoREG work packages or tasks, involvingquite a few partners. Moreover, the different types of NANoREG output (‘deliverables’) are addressed to a large audience of scientists, industry and regulatory bodies, extending beyond Europe. Hence, a coordinated initiative has been undertaken by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) to harmonise the use of specific wording within NANoREG.
The objective of this JRC report is to disseminate the harmonised terminology that has been developed and used with in NANoREG. This collection of key terms has been agreed upon by all project partners and adopted in their activities and related documents, as recommended by the NANoREG internal Guidance Document.
Accordingly, Section 2 of the report illustrates the methodology used i) to select key terms that form the ‘NANoREG Terminology’, ii) to develop harmonised ‘NANoREG Definitions’, and iii) it also explains the thinking that led to the choices made in drafting a definition. In Section 3, those definitions, adopted by the project Consortium, are reported in a table format and constitute the ‘NANoREG Harmonised Terminology’. Section 4 summarises the existing literature definitions that have been used as starting point to elaborate, for each key term, a NANoREG Definition. It also shortly discusses the reason(s) behind the choices that have been made in drafting a definition.
The NANoREG Harmonised Terminology illustrated in this report is not a ‘dictionary’ [emphasis mine] that collects a long list of well-known, well-defined scientific and/or regulatory terms relevant to the field of nanoEHS. Rather, the NANoREG Harmonised Terminology focuses on a relatively short list of key terms that may be interpreted in various ways, depending on where the reader is located on the globe or on the reader’s scientific area of expertise. Moreover, it focuses on few terms that are specifically relevant in a REACH [Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, & Restriction of Chemicals] context, which represents the regulatory framework of reference for NANoREG.
This is having it both ways. As I read it, what they’re saying is this: ‘Our document is not a dictionary but here are the definitions we’re using and you can use them that way if you like’.
You can find a link to the ‘harmonisation’ document and one other related document on this page.