Proposed Regulatory Framework For Nanomaterials Under The Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999

September 10, 2007

ENVIRONMENT CANADA         HEALTH CANADA

TABLE OF CONTENTS


INTRODUCTION

Environment Canada and Health Canada have developed a proposal for a regulatory framework for nanomaterials under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. Under the provisions of this legislation, the Ministers of the Environment and Health are required to conduct environmental and human health risk assessments and manage appropriately any risks arising from industrial chemical substances entering the Canadian market. Stakeholders from industry, non-governmental organizations, and other interested parties are invited to provide feedback on the proposed approach to developing a regulatory framework as well as to consider the options for gathering information on industrial nanomaterials as a part of the first phase.

Nanotechnology is a rapidly emerging field described generally as the control and structuring of matter at dimensions typically between 1 and 100 nanometres to create materials, devices, and systems with fundamentally new properties and functions. Nanoscale chemical substances, or nanomaterials, behave differently from their macroscale counterparts, exhibiting different mechanical, optical, magnetic, and electronic properties. As a result of such novel properties, nanomaterials are anticipated to have applications addressing a wide range of issues including health and the environment. The novel properties of nanomaterials, however, may also give rise to new exposures and effects which need to be assessed for their potential impacts on human health and the environment. It is incumbent on Environment Canada and Health Canada to develop a regulatory framework under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 which enables the responsible introduction of nanomaterials to Canada through the scientific assessment and appropriate management of the potential risks.

The proposal for the development of a responsible regulatory framework under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 consists of two phases as international and domestic activities progress. Canada is involved with the activities of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Organization for Standardization. The federal Science & Technology community is coordinating efforts within the government of Canada to address regulatory science issues. These activities will inform the development of a regulatory framework in a progressive manner which builds a foundation of knowledge through collaboration with industry and the public.

This document provides background information on nanomaterials and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 as well as information on the proposal for developing an effective regulatory framework for nanomaterials. The following sections contain:

  • A brief overview of the science and impacts of nanomaterials;
  • The role of the New Substances Program in conducting risk assessments;
  • The proposed approach for a regulatory framework for nanomaterials under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999;
  • Options for information gathering initiatives; and
  • Path forward for Government and stakeholders.

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