Environment - Overview - Standards - Text


At the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), environmental issues are addressed in the ISO 14000 family of standards, developed in ISO/TC 207 Environmental Management. Nevertheless, these do not directly address the use of nanotechnologies.

In its scope ISO/Technical Committee (TC) 229 Nanotechnologies includes the development of “standards for: […] science-based […] environmental practices”. Work package 3 of the TC specifically addresses Health, Safety and Environmental Aspects of Nanotechnologies. It has developed a number of technical specifications and technical reports addressing risks raised by nanomaterials for the environment and aiming at standardising test and toxicity assessment methods. For example, the technical committee has produced the following documents relevant to environmental protection:

  • ISO/TR 13121:2011Nanotechnologies — Nanomaterial risk evaluation
  • ISO/TR 16197:2014Nanotechnologies -- Compilation and description of toxicological screening methods for manufactured nanomaterials
  • ISO 29701:2010 Nanotechnologies -- Endotoxin test on nanomaterial samples for in vitro systems -- Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) test
  • Etc.

Work on environmental issues continues at ISO/TC 229. WG3 is currently working on an approved work item on Nanotechnologies -- Considerations for the measurement of nano-objects, and their aggregates and agglomerates (NOAA) in the environment and another one on Nanotechnologies: Aquatic Toxicity Assessment of Nanomaterials in salt water lakes using Artemia sp.


In Europe, the European Committee for Standardisation on nanotechnology (CEN/TC 352) mirrors the structure of ISO/TC 22: in WG3 - Health, safety and environmental aspects, the technical committee is currently developing documents relevant to environmental protection, these are:

  • CEN/TS (PWI 00352011) "Nanotechnologies – Guidelines for aspects of Life Cycle Assessment specific to nanomaterials"
  • CEN/TS (PWI 00352012) "Nanotechnologies – Guidance on detection and identification of nano-objects in complex matrices"
  • CEN/TS (PWI 00352013) "Nanotechnologies – Guidelines for determining protocols for the explosivity and flammability of powders containing nano-objects (for transport, handling and storage)"
  • CEN/TS (PWI 00352014) "Nanotechnologies – Guidelines for the management and disposal of waste from the manufacturing and processing of manufactured nano-objects"
  • CEN/TS (PWI 00352023) "Manufactured nanomaterials (MNMs) in the construction industry. Guidelines for occupational risk management".