InfoNano is the Swiss federal authorities central information hub for nanotechnology. It provides information on the opportunities and risks associated with nanomaterials, illustrates where nanomaterials are used and describes the goals and milestones of the Action plan for synthetic nanomaterials. Key topics include guidelines on safe use, promotion of public dialogue, key research and regulatory updates.
Nanomaterials are important building blocks of nanotechnology. They have potential for a variety of application areas in everyday life. Since the composition, size, shape and surface of these building blocks can be designed with virtually no limitation, they open an area of innovation in medicine, engineering and other high tech industrial branches. Incorporating nanomaterials into plastics can reduce both material and energy consumption of the respective applications. In medicine, nanoscale materials help to convey medicines to their site of action with greater accuracy. Consequently, the amount of active ingredient for the same efficacy becomes smaller which in turn may reduce side effects. The other side of the coin are the nano-specific risks of the materials that do not exist with conventional materials. The nanoscale properties of nanomaterials do not only raise new toxicological questions, but also require that existing legal provisions are challenged for their appropriateness for nanomaterials.
The Action plan indicates what work is necessary in Switzerland for the safe handling of nanomaterials.
Nanomaterials, nano-coatings and nanostructures allow the development of novel products. Dedicated databases provide an overview of the market for applications of nanomaterials and nanoproducts.
Dialogue is a key element in developing new technologies. Opportunities and risks have to be discussed and ways have to be found to safely and sensibly handle new technologies.
Scientific and methodical foundations are required to protect the environment and human health against potential nanotechnology-associated risks. Their development and implementation into binding regulations is time consuming.
Nanomaterials are minute particles and surfaces that are used for a wide range of products and technologies. Not all their physical and biological effects are known as yet, but new findings are being made all the time.
Current legislation for chemicals, foodstuffs, the environment, and medicines also applies to nanomaterials. Work is underway to determine any legal changes that are needed to take account of nanomaterials.
Federal Office of Public Health, Federal Offices for the Environment and Agriculture, Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office, Commission for Technology and Innovation, Swissmedic and the State Secretariats for Economic Affairs and for Education, Research and Innovation.
Last modification 12.05.2022