International standard supports advancements in nanotechnology

A new ISO standard produced on the characterisation of nano-particles

A new standard from the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) aims to help ensure the safe utilisation of nanoparticles. ISO 10808:2010, Nanotechnologies - Characterisation of nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for inhalation toxicity testing, outlines the requirements for the characterization of airborne nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for the purpose of inhalation toxicity studies.

From aerospace and information technology to medicine and clean energy production, nanotechnology is changing the world we live in. With the growth of nanotechnology-based products across multiple disciplines, ensuring the safety and environmental impact of nano products is paramount to tapping into the technology's full potential.

The standard takes into account the particular characteristics of nanoparticles, including particle mass, size distribution, concentration, and composition, and is anticipated to encourage the use of consistent characterisation methods by researchers worldwide.

ISO 10808:2010 was authored by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 229, Nanotechnologies, Working Group (WG) 3, Health, Safety and Environment. The group operates under the leadership of Steven Brown of the Intel Corporation with Laurie Locascio, from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) serving as US Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Working Group chair.

“This standard is an important step forward in putting in place an internationally accepted, scientific means of charactersing nanoparticles used in inhalation toxicity testing,” said Clayton Teague, director of the National Nanotechnology Coordination Office (NNCO) and chair of the ANSI-accredited US TAG to ISO TC 229. "Because of the complex nature of these materials, the recommended methods are not intended to address all characterisation needs for all types of inhalation toxicity testing. These efforts are ongoing."

Significant contributions in the field have emerged from this ISO TC, including the recently published ISO technical specification, ISO/TS 80004-1:2010, Nanotechnologies - Vocabulary - Part 1: Core terms. The Technical Specification lists terms and definitions related to core terms in the field of nanotechnologies. It is intended to facilitate communications between organisations and individuals in industry and those who interact with them.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) administers the US TAG for ISO TC 229. The TAG formulates all US positions and proposals with respect to a particular ISO committee's activities.