The action plan, which expired at the end of 2019, indicated what work should be embarked on in Switzerland from 2008 to 2019 to ensure the safe handling of nanomaterials. The Federal Council took note of the final report on the Action plan on 2 September 2020.
The action plan recognised the growing importance of nanotechnology and nanomaterials in research, business and society. It created a framework enabling new opportunities to be explored and sustainable applications to be developed. In particular, it worked towards a situation where potential risks could already be investigated in the course of the innovation process to enable early measures to be taken to protect health and the environment.
The “Action plan for synthetic nanomaterials” was approved by the Federal Council in April 2008. One of the goals was to create the legal bases for the safe handling of nanomaterials. A discussion on the opportunities and risks posed by nanotechnology was to form an integral part of technological development. For this reason, information was shared and dialogue encouraged with the general public, politicians and businesses.
The action plan ran until the end of 2019. However, the structures established and the framework created will allow pending work with respect to harmonised regulation, scientific and technological exchange, and maintaining resources related to the enforcement duties of the federal offices involved, to be executed beyond the term of the Action plan. This way the safe handling of nanomaterials in Switzerland will be assured in the future as well.
Between 2008 and 2019, work on implementing the action plan proceeded in many different areas:
Various guidance documents were published, such as the “Precautionary matrix for synthetic nanomaterials” and the “Guidelines for material safety data sheets”. They help to identify the possible risks posed by nanomaterials and communicate important safety information along the length of the production and delivery chain.
More Safe handling
Diverse nano-specific amendments were made to Swiss law. Among other things, Swiss law was amended in line with the rules governing nanomaterials in foods, cosmetics and medicinal products in the EU. Additional requirements for nanoscale chemicals were also added to the legislation on chemicals.
Various events took place to foster dialogue with consumer and environmental organisations, businesses, academia and public authorities.
Basically the testing methods developed for chemicals can be applied. However, adaptations are needed for nanomaterials. New testing methods also have to be developed, especially methods for characterising nanomaterials. Switzerland is actively supporting the resulting work, with the federal bodies responsible participating in specific projects and the relevant OECD and EU working parties.
Bericht zum Abschluss des Aktionsplans "Synthetische Nanomaterialien" (PDF, 652 kB, 02.09.2020)only available in German and French
Zweiter Bericht des Bundesrates zum Aktionsplan Synthetische Nanomaterialien vom 17.12.2014 (PDF, 485 kB, 05.04.2017)only available in German and French
Bericht des Bundesrates zum Aktionsplan Synthetische Nanomaterialien vom 25.4.2012 (PDF, 323 kB, 25.04.2012)only available in German or French
Action plan Synthetic Nanomaterials (PDF, 534 kB, 09.04.2008)Report of the Federal Council dated 9 April 2008
Synthetic Nanomaterials (Summary) (PDF, 260 kB, 01.01.2007)Risk Assessment and Risk Management. Basic report for the Swiss Action Plan 2007
Last modification 16.05.2022