Nanotechnology and ISO

The ISO is the International Organisation for Standardisation, a worldwide federation of national standards bodies.  The work of preparing international standards is normally carried out through ISO Technical Committees.  The ISO has many technical committees (TCs) and TC 229 deals with nanotechnologies, the application of scientific knowledge to manipulate and control matter in the nanoscale.

The most recent meeting of ISO TC 229 was held in St. Petersburg from 16th – 20th May, 2011 and was attended by CFA Standards Representative Elaine Attwood.  Over 200 delegates and observers were present. Currently there are 34 active work items covering issues such  Nanomaterial Risk Evaluation, Nanoscale Measurement and Instrumentation, Diagnostics and Therapeutics for Healthcare. A number of projects have been completed, resulting in 5 publications having been printed and a further seven have been voted for publication shortly.

Elaine is also a member of two Nanotechnology Task Groups – one on Sustainability and the other on Consumer and Societal Dimensions. Members of the ISO are now highly conscious of the fact that both sustainability and consumer issues need to be taken into account when developing Standards and the Task Groups’ jobs are to show them how. To this end, a checklist is currently under development by the Sustainability Task Group.

The Consumer and Societal Dimensions Task Groups  are similarly devising a questionnaire to go firstly to member bodies of ISO (countries) to ascertain how they are involving consumers and others having an interest in Standards Development from a societal viewpoint. It is hoped that both these projects will be completed and ready for approval by the next ISO meeting. Eventually, the questionnaire will also ask Member Bodies (countries) to send it on to their national Nanotechnology committee members to ascertain how they involve their consumers at the national level.

Further discussion on nanotechnology can be viewed at [ilink url=””]Friends of the Earth[/ilink]   and [ilink url=””]Australian Nanotechnology Alliance[/ilink].

The 13th meeting of the ISO TC 229 is scheduled for Johannesburg in November 2011.

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