After four years of assessment and 30 reports, the Denmark EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has published conclusions regarding the safety of nano-materials for consumers and for the environment. The final report states that “most nanomaterials do not seem to be as big a problem as many may fear. However, there is still a need for more knowledge. It cannot with certainty be concluded that nanomaterials do not pose a risk to health or the environment [and that] with the knowledge we have today, and with the limitations of the assessments, the nanomaterials usually do not pose a health or environment risk when present in products in solid form.
However, for some uses without proper protective equipment, for example use of some spray products, or sanding of a painted surface containing nanomaterials, nanoparticles may be inhaled and cause a risk to consumers. Similarly, in the environment a risk may only occur under very special conditions.” The possible risks are in a number of cases related to possible accidental uptake, for example ingestion of sunblock lotions. For the environment, questions are raised regarding local impacts near sewage works discharge points. The report considers that further information is needed about specific properties of nano-materials and also about where and how they are used. Experience with the Denmark nano-materials register indicates that companies have difficulties obtaining information from overseas suppliers. This report does not address nanomaterials in the working environment, which are being assessed separately by the Danish NanoSafety Centre.
“Better control of nanomaterials – summary of the 4-year Danish initiative on nanomaterials”, Denmark EPA, Environmental Project no. 1797, 2015, 34 pages, ISBN 978-87-93352-89-6