German Authorities: Insufficient Information Linking Nanotechnology to Cancer — However, Findings “Should Be Taken Seriously”

Colorado Business Lawyers of LaszloLaw on Nanotechnology

Colorado Business Lawyers | LaszloLawGerman authorities, comprised of the Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR, the scientific body of Germany that prepares expert reports and opinions on questions of food safety and consumer health protection on the basis of internationally recognised scientific assessment criteria) and the Federal Environment Agency (UBA, the German central federal advisory authority on environmental protection), stated that despite various animal studies linking nanomaterials to cancer, there is insufficient information to label them as being “potentially carcinogenic to humans” at this time. Despite this pronouncement, German authorities did however state that sufficient concern remains to monitor nanomaterials and their effect on humans.

The German authorities reviewed animal research studies in which nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes and titanium dioxide, were found to be carcinogenic in animals.  The authorities could not determine whether this causality necessarily translates to humans:

…the extent to which data from animal testing applies to humans and whether these effects are specific to the nanoscale or are rather due to other properties inherent to these substances is uncertain.

Further, in conjunction with a dearth of research on the subject, the authorities stated that review of the effects of nanomaterials on humans is further complicated as there is “no reliable measurement technology to detect nanomaterials in different media.”  Thus, according to the German authorities, no reliable conclusions could be drawn from the animal research studies regarding the potential effects of human exposure to nanomaterials.  However, German authorities caution that the findings of the animal research studies linking nanomaterials to cancer  “…should be taken seriously.”

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