CEN and ISO cooperate to develop standards in nanotechnologies and nanomaterials


CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) are working together to identify and develop standards in relation to nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. The CEN Technical Committee on Nanotechnologies (CEN/TC 352) is responsible for coordinating standardization activities at European level.


Nanotechnologies depend on the manipulation of materials at the level of atoms and molecules, with a size smaller than 100 nanometres (i.e. less than 0.0001 millimetres). They make it possible to develop materials and devices with novel properties, performance and functions. The world market for nanotechnologies is growing rapidly, leading to the creation of thousands of jobs in advanced manufacturing. Recognizing the need for standards in this area, CEN has accepted a formal request from the European Commission to develop standardization activities regarding nanotechnologies and nanomaterials. EC mandate M/461 covers a range of topics related to the characterization of nanomaterials, measuring and simulating exposure to nanomaterials, as well as aspects related to health, safety and the environment (HS&E).

A Nanotechnologies Standardization Roadmap is being developed on the basis of information collected from CEN Members and relevant Technical Committees (TCs). Some 14 European and international TCs (CEN, ISO and IEC) are currently involved in standardization activities related to EC mandate M/461. The CEN Technical Committee on Nanotechnologies (CEN/TC 352) has set up five Project Groups, which have been tasked with drafting specific standards in relation to “Detection and identification of specific nano-objects”, “Explosivity and flammability of nano-powders”, “Life cycle assessment”, “Measurands” and “Waste”.