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Helsinki Chemicals Forum Includes Debate on Nanomaterials

The tenth Helsinki Chemicals Forum was held on June 14-15, 2018, in Helsinki, Finland.  According to the Conference Report, prepared by Chemical Watch, 168 delegates from 37 countries attended.  The final debate at the Forum used nanomaterials as a case study to argue whether product stewardship can replace regulation.  Roger Drew, ToxConsult, moderated the debate between David Azoulay, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and David Warheit, Ph.D., The Chemours Company.  The Conference Report lists a number of open questions, and provides the following “bottom line” bullet points:

  • While regulation and product stewardship both play a part, the latter is not necessarily sufficient to guarantee the safety of the material;
  • The role of product stewardship is not always clear and must be better defined and communicated;
  • One weakness of product stewardship is that companies do not sufficiently communicate what they do;
  • Instead of stating or suggesting that everything on the market is safe, industry and regulators should be forthcoming about the complexity of the issue and acknowledge that there are still some unknowns; and
  • “There is no such thing as a safe nanomaterial — only safe ways of using nanomaterials. Some knowledge of nanomaterial hazards as directed by regulations is needed.”  Responsible and safe manufacture and use of nanomaterials is possible, however, even in the presence of uncertainty and without complete hazard knowledge.

The Conference Report is “not a formal report,” but rather “aims to be a balanced and accessible reflection of two days of debate as a means to further understanding.”  It provides an “unedited selection of comments and questions raised on the message wall,” including a number of comments regarding the debate.

©2018 Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

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Lynn Bergeson, Campbell PC, Toxic Substances Control Act Attorney, federal insecticide lawyer, industrial biotechnology legal counsel, Food Drug Administration law
Managing Partner

Owner of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®), Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy...

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Carla Hutton, Bergeson Campbell PC, global regulatory attorney, public health activists lawyer, metals industry legal counsel, Toxic Substances Control Act law
Regulatory Analyst

Since 1996, Carla Hutton has monitored, researched, and written about regulatory and legislative issues that may potentially affect Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) clients. She is responsible for creating a number of monthly and quarterly regulatory updates for B&C's clients, as well as other documents, such as chemical-specific global assessments of regulatory developments and trends. She authors memoranda for B&C clients on regulatory and legislative developments, providing information that is focused, timely and applicable to client initiatives. These tasks have proven invaluable to many clients, keeping them aware and abreast of developing issues so that they can respond in kind and prepare for the future of their business.

Ms. Hutton brings a wealth of experience and judgment to her work in federal, state, and international chemical regulatory and legislative issues, including green chemistry, nanotechnology, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Proposition 65, and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program.

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