Nanomaterials in our daily lives

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Nanomaterials are used across almost all industrial sectors and product categories, whether cosmetics, industrial chemicals or medicines.

Because of their widespread use, consumers, workers, and the environment may also be exposed to them in many different ways.

Workers handle them in manufacturing processes as raw materials. When these are processed through the lifecycle in various downstream applications, many more will be using them either in products such as paints or in articles, for example, printers. There is a difference between those products and articles that have been manufactured using nanotechnology and those that, when they are used, still contain free nanoparticles.

There is a common understanding that nanomaterials are considered as substances just like any other substances. This also holds true for their status in a regulatory context.

The definition of substance is so broad that it also covers all forms of substances, including particles at a nanoscale 1-100nm (i.e. nanomaterials). However, compared to other substances, nanomaterials may behave differently not only when used in products or articles, but also from a risk assessment perspective.

Because of this, there may be a need to distinguish nanomaterials from other larger particles in the context of risk assessment and risk management.