Nanotechnology is the fast growing science of the ultra-small, with commercial applications in place in many sectors, including agricultural production.
Research has indicated that nanoparticles do not behave in a predictable manner and can be hazardous to life. A particular concern is the ability of nanomaterials to be directly taken up by individual cells and cell nuclei, where they can cause DNA mutation and even cell death. Despite these findings, nanomaterials are not currently subject to any specific safety testing, regulations or labeling in most places.
In observance of the Principle of Care, which calls on us to manage organic systems in a precautionary manner, IFOAM favors a moratorium on the commercial use of manufactured nanomaterials until they are shown to be safe.
The IFOAM position paper “The use of Nanotechnologies and Nanomaterials in Organic Agriculture” calls on organic producers, handlers and certifiers to refuse the use of nanomaterials and to increase their vigilance, education and information about the presence of nanomaterials in purchased inputs.
- See an input paper written for the nanotechnology session organized by IFOAM at BioFach, Nuremberg in 2011, authored by John Paull.
- See the draft IFOAM Standard presented for consultation (in OGS Courier n.4) and the IFOAM Standards Requirements (Common Objectives and Requirements of Organic Standards) for IFOAM requirements regarding the use of nanotechnology by organic operators.