Nano-labelling for well-informed consumers

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Nanoparticles, nanotubes, nanofibres? Nanotechnologies are increasingly pervading the products we buy, yet we are often unaware of their existence. In order to better inform consumers about their presence, ISO has developed a document which offers manufacturers a harmonized approach for the voluntary labelling of their nanoproducts and products incorporating nanotechnology.

The ISO technical specification, ISO/TS 13830:2013, Nanotechnologies — Guidance on voluntary labelling for consumer products containing manufactured nano-objects, provides guidance on the format and content of voluntary labels for consumer products containing manufactured nano-objects. It recommends, among other things, placing the term "nano" on product labels.

Such labelling will enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions. Jean-Marc Aublant, the Project Manager of the working group that developed the document, explained that "ISO/TS 13830 is intended to be used primarily by manufacturers, retailers, the packaging industry and marketing managers, and secondly by any stakeholders interested in improving communication and understanding about nanoproducts. It provides consumers with relevant and reliable information supporting purchasing decisions meeting their expectations."

An expanding market

Nanotechnology cuts across many other scientific disciplines, including electronics, mechanical engineering, chemistry, optics and biology, and involves manipulating matter at the nanoscale (size range of approximately 1nm to 100 nm).

While nanotechnologies may raise possible concerns, they also make our lives simpler. For example, they help the administration of some medicines, make our clothes more stain-resistant and improve the strength of certain materials.

As nanotechnologies are being applied increasingly broadly, the document was eagerly awaited by the market, said Jean-Marc Aublant. "The technical specification was developed in only one year, as part of our ongoing commitment to support this young and growing industry. The various working group stakeholders, including nanoproduct manufacturers, consumers and legal authorities, actively and enthusiastically participated in its development."

Providing clearer information

ISO/TS 13830:2013 will help clarify, align and harmonize the way reliable and accurate information should be delivered worldwide to consumers and end-users of nanoproducts.

"Increasing consumer confidence, expanding the market once the benefits of nanoproducts are demonstrated, and guiding consumers in order to meet their daily expectations, are the intended objectives of ISO/TS 13830", Jean-Marc Aublant added.

Sandrine Tranchard
Sandrine Tranchard

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