Nanosciences and nanotechnologies have been a reoccurring topic for public and professional initiatives for over 20 years; agreement on accurate definitions, terminologies and scientific nomenclatures is necessary, in order to clearly define areas of focus and concern.

Defining the term nanotechnology or nanomaterial has been the subject of a number of expert debates over the last 10 years. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee TC229 (Nanotechnologies) (ISO/TC 229) commenced work on the development of such ‘terminologies’ in 2005,  and published a number of terminologies in the form of ‘Technical Specification’, including that for ‘nanotechnology’ and ‘nanomaterial’ in the ISO/TS 80004-1:2010(en) document, entitled Nanotechnologies — Vocabulary — Part 1: Core Terms.

Of the vast range of applications that nanotechnologies already enhance and are predicted to give rise to, nanomaterials are discussed most frequently, based on their potentially rapid and easy market entry in replacing an incumbent similar material with a nanomaterial that is superior to the previously used material in both quality, function and sustainability, while many discussion on nanomaterial also focus on the uncertainties regarding their potential adverse effects on both occupational and environmental health and safety. 

In October 2011, the European Commission put an end to the discussion of the definition of nanomaterials in regulatory context, by releasing a long-debated Recommendation on the Definition of Nanomaterial 2011/696/EU.

Throughout many of the discussions that led to the publication of the terminologies and definitions described above, NIA and its Members have been at the forefront of providing both technical and economic evidence that was thankfully received by policy makers as ‘one of the most (if not THE most) constructive and informative submission to the public consultation [on the regulatory definition of nanomaterials]’ (European Commission, 2011).

In the current debates surrounding the future implementation of the recommended definition, as well as the resulting impact on the nanotechnology industries both within and outside Europe, NIA continues to represent the nanotechnology industries through its collaborative channels of influence.


NIA Support in Definitions & Nomenclature

NIA Members benefit from a wide range of support with Definitions & Nomenclature.

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