Nanotechnology and Agvet Chemicals
Nanotechnology is a process of deliberately engineering materials at the atomic or molecular level to create nanomaterials. The novel properties of nanomaterials provide new opportunities for manufacturing in a wide range of industries.
To date nanotechnology has primarily been applied to industrial and therapeutic applications. The APVMA expects that nanotechnology will increasingly become part of new product development in the pesticides and veterinary medicines sector.
Common questions about nanotechnology
The APVMA has published the answers to some common questions about nanotechnology and how it relates to agricultural and veterinary medicines.
The APVMA's approach to nanotechnology
The agency’s activities in relation to nanotechnology focus on the whole of government agenda, the regulation of pesticides and veterinary medicines and the registration of these products.
Whole of Government Agenda
The APVMA is participating in Whole of Government committees and working groups to help deliver a coordinated national approach to nanotechnology.
Read about the whole of government agenda in relation to nanotechnology under Australian Collaboration and Agreements.
Regulation of Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines
The APVMA is monitoring the development of nanotechnologies for pesticides and veterinary medicines and is examining the need for any changes to the legislation.
In September 2007 the Government released its report ‘A review of possible impacts of nanotechnology on Australia’s regulatory framework’. The report confirmed that the existing APVMA legislation is robust and adequate for differentially regulating the composition of “new” (nanoform) and “existing” (conventional) agricultural and veterinary chemicals and chemical products. The report did, however, identify four potential gaps in relation to health, safety and environment considerations and these are under active review by the APVMA.
- Government’s report on the possible regulatory impacts (external website)
- APVMA position paper and strategy (PDF, 141kb).
Product Registration and Nanotechnology
The APVMA is assessing whether it needs to modify data requirements and the risk assessment framework for agvet chemicals and chemical products containing engineered nanomaterials.
Assessment of agricultural and veterinary chemicals and chemical products currently registered in Australia has not identified any to contain engineered nanomaterials.
Under the existing regulatory framework the APVMA considers registration of every agricultural and veterinary chemical and chemical product separately. Any change to the composition or form of a registered chemical or chemical product creates a new chemical or chemical product requiring new assessment.
The APVMA’s strategy for nanotechnology is to maintain and enhance its high quality scientific expertise, develop appropriate administrative processes and to continue ongoing engagement with registrants, researchers, regulators and policy makers throughout Australia and internationally.
Under this strategy the APVMA is comprehensively reviewing the current regulatory arrangements to ensure they remain adequate to assess and manage the risks that may be associated with agricultural and veterinary chemicals and chemical products containing engineered nanomaterials.