Within the framework of the NanoDialogue of the German Government, the Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection organised an ExpertDialogue on the topic of "Opportunities and Risks of Active Materials at Nano Scale" in June 2022 in Berlin. The participants in the event included authorities, experts from the scientific field and NGOs. Unlike the former ExpertDialogues, the industry sector unfortunately did not participate in this one.
In the fields of application presented, the opportunities of active nanoscale materials lie in efficiency increases, the reduction of costs and undesirable (toxic) effects, as well as in some cases qualitatively new approaches to solving social challenges. Risks could be caused by the use of toxic materials, such as rigid Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs) that are classified as carcinogenic. Many of the examples presented use organic, naturally occurring polymers, for example DNA, whose potential for harmful effects on humans and the environment has been assessed as low.
The experts participating considered the existing chemicals legislation as basically suitable for limiting risks from active nanoscale materials. However, both the test methods and the information requirements for these materials must be adapted or newly developed.