Nanotechnology and advanced materials are both highly innovative areas, providing opportunities for economic growth by revolutionising current manufacturing techniques, across all industrial areas such as energy, transport and health.

Nanomaterials are chemical substances and materials with unique properties compared to their conventional form. There are three general types of nanomaterials: naturally occurring particles, incidental nanoparticles and engineered nanomaterials (ENM). ENMs find use in multiple applications such as advanced materials, display technologies, electronics, nutrition, cosmetics and medical drug design.

Regulation of man-made nanomaterials is challenging as different nanoforms of the same chemical substance can have different properties and often a number of different nanoforms is present within a single product.

In the area of advanced materials, EU legislation such as Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), has been driving innovation through the requirements to replace materials hazardous to human health or harmful to the environment. However most of the existing regulations were designed to deal with the risks of conventional materials.

For new, advanced materials being developed and most commonly entering commercial markets, it is often unknown how these will behave once released to the environment. Hence, existing regulatory regimes may not be fit for purpose to deal with potential risks posed by advanced materials.

Uncertainty about the potential health and environmental impacts of the unregulated release of nanomaterials is a driver for governments and legislators worldwide to review the scope of current legislation and consider the need to develop nano-specific policy governing their handling and release.

 Nanomaterials and future policy - who will be affected by regulations?

Regulations targeted at nanomaterials are likely to affect any organisation/industry involved in the production, handling or potential release (deliberate or accidental) of nanomaterials into the environment.

Depending on the industry, employers may be required to assess and monitor the level of nanomaterial exposure and potential risk posed to employees within the workplace.

 Why Ricardo Energy & Environment?

Ricardo Energy & Environment is leading industry in the measurement and classification of nanomaterials, as well as helping government develop practical regulations that control the risks of release to the environment.

Following on from an initial consultation study for the Department for Transport, Ricardo Energy & Environment scientists developed an innovative mobile, on-site calibration service for nano particle number measurements per kilometre. This UKAS-accredited service has been noted with reducing instrument downtime among client customers, as well as strengthening their technical capability within the market.

In addition to our measurement services, we are currently also supporting the European Commission in reviewing the environmental impact of nanomaterials. Feeding into policy development and implementation, our team of technical specialists are providing valuable insight on material hazards and risks to address gaps in environmental policy.

Our pioneering work with industry and the European Commission is shaping the criteria against which future regulation will be defined. This makes Ricardo Energy & Environment uniquely positioned to provide the specialist advice and support needed to manage the full life-cycle of nanomaterial measurement, responsible care and occupational health, as well successfully comply with emerging regulation.

 Full life-cycle regulatory support and guidance

From particulate characterisation, technical calibration and risk assessments, right through to regulatory compliance, our in-house team of cross disciplinary experts can provide the expertise needed to ensure you are able to:

•    Prepare and comply with existing and emerging regulation and legislative standards
•    Maintain a safe working environment for employees
•    Responsibly manage nanomaterials production, handling and disposal
•    Avoid cost of noncompliance

With experts in chemical risk, waste management and industrial pollution control, Ricardo Energy & Environment can provide specialist support in both the technical and practical aspects of regulation.

 Our services

Measuring and monitoring
•    UKAS accredited calibration and measurement services:
     o    Calibration of solid particle measurement systems
     o    Calibration of particle number counters individually or as part of a dilution system
•    Particle mapping (special and temporal particle distributions)
•    Particle abatement (strategies, processes and solutions)

Health and Safety
•    COSHH
•    Safe handling
•    Occupational health
•    Hazard and Risk Assessment

Regulatory compliance
•    REACH services
•    Risk assessment
•    Material characterisation
•    Techno-economic support for compliance decisions
•    Legislative horizon scanning, to inform current activities and future investment planning

 Contact us

Unsure how changes in nanomaterial regulation may affect your business? Contact us to find out more.