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Nanomaterial Uses

Download Work Element 4 (PDF; 813 KB)

The Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Nanotechnology Initiative was established to increase alignment in regulatory approaches for nanomaterials between Canada and the United States (US)[1] in order to reduce risks to human health and the environment while also fostering innovation. The Work Plan that was developed to achieve greater regulatory alignment consists of five Work Elements, each designed to realize specific final deliverables: Principles, Priority-Setting, Risk Assessment/Management, Commercial Information, and Regulatory Cooperation in Areas of Emerging Technologies.

The RCC Nanotechnology Initiative primarily focuses on those industrial nanomaterials that would be considered new substances (referred to herein as nanomaterials), regulated in Canada under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 (CEPA 1999) and in the US under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

The overarching action item identified for Work Element 4, Commercial Information, in the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) Nanotechnology Work Plan is to characterize existing commercial activities and to identify gaps and priorities for future knowledge gathering for nanomaterials.  The Work Plan action items are:

  • By November, 2012: Share information and lessons learned from previous commercial data gathering activities.
  • By May, 2013: Share non-Confidential Business Information (CBI) concerning industrial nanomaterials in the marketplace; identify areas where information is limited and invite stakeholder comment and input to help address these gaps.
  • By November, 2013: Initiate an analysis of industrial nanomaterials uses in Canada and the US.
  • Beyond November, 2013: Complete an assessment of industrial nanomaterial uses in Canada and the US; identify opportunities for and barriers to ongoing collaborations and regulatory alignment.

From the outset of the RCC Nanotechnology Initiative, the Canadian New Substances Program and US New Chemicals Program (the Canada/US Programs) recognized that more complete and accurate information on the use of nanomaterials would improve their understanding of the potential environmental release of nanomaterials as well as the potential for exposure to nanomaterials, which would result in more targeted and consistent information requests by the Canada/US Programs for regulatory purposes. More complete information on the uses of nanomaterials would also inform the targeting and prioritization of further research.  Over the long-term, an improved understanding of the potential environmental release of nanomaterials and the potential for exposure to them could help the Canada/US Programs make risk assessment and regulatory decisions that are more consistent and predictable by, for example, prioritizing development of harmonized generic exposure models[2] and relevant exposure testing guidelines.

This report is the final deliverable for Work Element 4.  It addresses the action items completed up to 18 months (November, 2013); items beyond 18 months have already been initiated. This report represents the current state of knowledge on the uses of nanomaterials from data gathered by both Canada and the US prior to and during the RCC Nanotechnology Initiative.  All of the data gathered to date has been used to create a Nanomaterials Use Matrix, which represents the most up-to-date information the Canada/US Programs have on a wide range of known commercially available nanomaterials. The report also explores next steps for Canada and the US as the two countries continue to build on and apply this knowledge in support of regulatory alignment, and to better inform risk assessment and risk management.

[1] While this document focuses on industrial nanomaterials, some of the uses of these materials may fall under the jurisdictions of other regulatory agencies in the U.S. and Canada.  This document is not intended to address the materials/products or their intended uses that are appropriately regulated by the other agencies.

[2] In the US these exposure models are termed generic engineering scenarios (, while the OECD uses the term emission scenario document (