Stakeholder Spotlight – BUND
Tell us a little about your organisation. How do the areas of nanotechnology and sustainability impact your work?
Substances as nanosized particles feature specific risks and hazards for the environment, for organisms and for the human health of workers and consumers. It is therefore important to determine which are the risks of each application of nanotechnology and to minimise exposure and effects. BUND e.V (through its working group Nanotechnology, organised as a subgroup of AK UTOX) therefore has accompanied the development of nanotechnology from its very beginnings and to date has published more than 50 articles and papers (click here to download) on nanotechnology issues.
BUND e.V. has also participated intensively and regularly in the political Nano-Dialogue of the German government since the first decade of the 2000 millennium. BUND e.V. has also published the ToxFox app. and lists and databases with information for consumers concerning nanomaterials contained in consumer products. BUND e.V. also works closely with UBA, BfR, BMU and other national authorities and (through participation in Friends of the Earth and European Environmental Bureau) with European Community institutions for better regulation and increased transparency and risk evaluation concerning nanomaterials.
What is the newest/most innovative development in nanotechnology that your organisation is excited about now?
Nanotechnology may have benefits for sustainability by helping to reduce resources consumption and energy needs. Therefore, nanotechnology should not be seen as an “evil technology” per se, but the risks and possible detrimental effects must be rigorously analysed and made transparent and then weighed against any possible benefits.
What do you think is the most important thing (tool, process, support, etc.) that is needed right now to help grow and strengthen the nanotechnology community?
Clear rules on the information requirements that producers must deliver concerning risks a hazard analysis and regulation of the requirements of data and information which must be provided to consumers and users of nanomaterials and products containing them. Specific regulation concerning possible restrictions, safe use rules, disposal, and circularity requirements.
What do you think are important factors or influences that will affect the direction of the nanotechnology community in the future?
According to their requirements, full information and transparency concerning properties, risks and hazards, and clear, correct and understandable consumer information are prerequisites for the future development and acceptance of the technology by civil society and consumers.
Written by: Volker Molthan (BUND für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V.).