Environment - Overview - Standards - Text


The overview of standards relevant to management and protection of the environment, including risk and/or hazard assessment of nanomaterials to the environment is provided. Standards that focus on measuring the concentrations of nanomaterials in different environment compartments (e.g., air) are covered here even if the outcomes of such measurements are later used for the protection of human health.

Between 2017–2020, three international organisations developed standards and guidance on nanotechnology and the environment. International Standardisation Organisation, ISO (11), The European Committee for Standardisation, CEN (14), and OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) (2).

Several ISO technical committees contributed to the development of standards focused on various environmental aspects of nanomaterials from 2017-2020:

  • ISO/TC 229 Nanotechnologies.
  • ISO/TC 142 Cleaning equipment for air and other gases.
  • ISO/TC 209 Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments.

Most standards produced by ISO focused on providing guidance for measurement and testing of nanomaterials in various environment media, such as water and air. Several standards provided guidance for toxicity assessment of nanomaterials. The following ISO standards published from 2017-2020 are relevant for the environment:

  • ISO (2017). ISO/TS 19590. Nanotechnologies — Size distribution and concentration of inorganic nanoparticles in aqueous media via single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. Available at: https://www.iso.org/standard/65419.html?browse=tc 
  • ISO (2018). ISO 14644-12. Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments — Part 12: Specifications for monitoring air cleanliness by nanoscale particle concentration. Available at: https://www.iso.org/standard/69432.html 
  • ISO (2018). ISO 21083-1. Test method to measure the efficiency of air filtration media against spherical nanomaterials — Part 1: Size range from 20 nm to 500 nm. Available at: https://www.iso.org/standard/69876.html 
  • ISO (2019). ISO/TS 21083-2. Test method to measure the efficiency of air filtration media against spherical nanomaterials — Part 2: Size range from 3 nm to 30 nm. Available at: https://www.iso.org/standard/69877.html 
  • ISO (2019). ISO/TS 21361. Nanotechnologies — Method to quantify air concentrations of carbon black and amorphous silica in the nanoparticle size range in a mixed dust manufacturing environment. Available at: https://www.iso.org/standard/70760.html?browse=tc 

In 2017–2020, CEN produced the largest number of standards addressing environmental topics than other international organisations. Of fourteen standards, five are ISO homologues. Several CEN technical committees published nanotechnology standards related to various environmental issues:

  • CEN/TC 352 – Nanotechnologies.
  • CEN/TC 298 – Pigments and extenders.
  • CEN/TC 137 – Assessment of workplace exposure to chemical and biological agents.
  • CEN/TC 195 – Cleaning equipment for air and other gases.

CEN standards focus on a wide spectrum of topics, including waste management and life cycle assessment, measuring nanomaterials in various environmental media by applying different measurement methods and techniques. Six standards provide guidance on nanomaterial measurements relevant for assessing workplace exposure. From 2017–2020, CEN published the following standards that focused on the environmental issues:

Between 2017–2020, the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) published one test guideline and a guidance document for making decisions on physical-chemical properties of manufactured nanomaterials in the light of risk assessment: