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European Committee for Standardization

The European Committee for Standardization (CEN) established CEN/TC 352 'Nanotechnologies' at the end of 2005 to develop a set of standards addressing the following aspects of nanotechnologies:

  • classification, terminology and nomenclature;
  • metrology and instrumentation, including specifications for reference materials;
  • test methodologies;
  • modelling and simulation;
  • science-based health, safety and environmental practices;
  • nanotechnology products and processes.
Standards in each of these areas could be specific to a product, process or industry.  Full details of CEN/TC 352's work programme is available here.

In February 2010, the European Commission addressed a mandate (M/461) to CEN, CENELEC (the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) and ETSI (the European Telecommunications Standards Institute) for standardisation activities regarding nanotechnologies and nanomaterials.  In the mandate, the Commission requested CEN, CENELEC and ETSI to develop a number of standardisation deliverables, including:
  • European standards for methodologies for characterisation of nanomaterials in the manufactured form and prior toxicity and eco-toxicity testing;
  • European standards for measurement of exposures to nanomaterials, and;
  • European standards for methods to simulate exposures to nanomaterials;
  • European standards for occupational handing and exposure, providing guidance on a number of issues including safe handling, dosimetry and exposure determination, detection and identification of nanoparticles and other nanoscale entities.
This mandate will therefore make an important contribution towards the development of standards in relation to providing methods for detection and characterisation of nanomaterials, which will in turn support evaluation of health, safety and environmental impact of nanomaterials in the manufactured form.  
A number of standards have started to emerge from this activity, in close collaboration with on-going ISO activities, including:

Did you know?

100 nm is the size below which the EU recommendation of the definition of nanomaterials applies.