Pollution Probe and the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED) co-hosted a national consultation on the implications of nanomaterials for human health and environment. This two-day event convened academia, industry, government and civil society in a process of knowledge-sharing and needs assessment. The purpose of this session was to educate and to build capacity among pivotal groups on the subject of nanomaterials in the context of human health. This will help catalyze critical movement toward cooperative action on identified priorities (e.g., research, international collaboration, regulation, education) aimed at promoting the safe and beneficial development and use of nanomaterials in Canada. A report will be released following the consultation that synthesizes the exchange of ideas and perspectives through a policy lens, providing guidance and identifying opportunities for those engaged in the evolving nanomaterials sector to coordinate and partner on future action.


National Consultation on Nanomaterials and Their Implications for Human Health and Environment

Wednesday, January 27 & Thursday, January 28, 2016

Workshop Venue (map):
New Residence Hall, McGill University Campus
3625 Avenue du Parc, Montreal, QC

Workshop Presentations:
Now available for download below!

Why Nanomaterials?

Nanomaterials are used as antimicrobials in textiles ...
... as drug delivery agents in pharmaceuticals ...
... and even as whitener in powdered doughnuts.

Click on the heading & images to learn more.

Agenda & Speakers

Click on each speaker’s photo for a bio.


7:45 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.




10:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.





12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.











2:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Registration, Breakfast & Networking

Opening Remarks


Plenary 1-1:  Nanomaterials in Our Daily Lives:  Understanding Their Uses and Benefits
Nanomaterials exhibit novel properties and behavioural phenomena that make them useful for diverse applications in industry, medicine, food and consumer products. This session provided participants with a context-setting overview of the global market for nanomaterials:  their past development, where they are used today, potential breakthroughs on the horizon and challenges confronting this sector. A view to how the benefits of nanotechnology can be realized while addressing concerns and potential human health risks was also introduced.


Available Presentations:                                                                                                             

Dr. Mark Wiesner Dr. John Dutcher Dr. Lajos Bolagh Dr. Elizabeth Nielsen

Health Break

Plenary 1-2:  Impacts of Nanomaterials and Their Implications for Human and Environmental Health
The current state of knowledge on the measurement and the movement of nanomaterials in the environment and in the human body was the focus of this session. Participants discovered potential exposure pathways and identified and suspected health risks. Knowledge gaps were identified, as well as specific activities underway to address these where possible.


Available Presentations:    

Dr. Chris Metcalfe


Catered Lunch & Networking

Parallel Breakout Sessions (A, B, C)

Session 1-3A:  Understanding the State of Science and Research Gaps
This session examined the state of knowledge on the health implications of nanomaterials, further exploring the gap areas raised in Plenary 1-2. Participants discussed the ways in which gaps in knowledge can increase uncertainty in the appropriate management of nanomaterials, where the gaps are being closed, and the manner and degree to which findings are being shared with key stakeholders to enhance risk mitigation.

Session Experts:____________________-__Facilitator:______

Available Presentations:

Dr. Frank von der Kammer Dr. Greg Goss


Session 1-3B:  Exploring the Technological Applications of Nanomaterials
Nanomaterials can potentially address a range of societal challenges, such as the sustainability of global food and energy systems, climate change, as well as advancements in clinical medicine. Participants in this session explored applications of the technology, as well as ways in which stakeholders can work together to ensure that innovation is supported and solutions emerge while addressing and managing health and environmental risks.

Session Experts:___________________________________Facilitator:_____

Available Presentations:

Dr. Michael Fleischauer


Session 1-3C:  Applying the Canadian Chemicals Management Framework to Nanomaterials
This session examined how substances are currently assessed, regulated and controlled in Canada, as well as how risk assessment and management is conducted in the face of uncertainty (i.e., precautionary approach). The occupational health and safety dimension was explored, as well as the state of public knowledge and awareness on nanomaterials, including how consumer right-to-know principles are interpreted and applied.

Session Experts: ________________________________ Facilitator:_____

Available Presentations:

Dr. Myriam Hill Troy Winters


Health Break

Plenary 1-4:  Group Discussion
This session brought participants together to report back from the breakout sessions as a group. Questions or gaps were identified to help form the basis for the discussion on Day 2.


Closing Remarks


Reception at the McGill University Faculty Club


7:45 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

8:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.




10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

1:45 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Breakfast & Networking

Opening Remarks – Recap of Day 1

Plenary 2-1:  International Experiences and/or Approaches to Assessment and Management of Nanomaterials
The U.S. and the E.U. experiences regarding the assessment and management of nanomaterials were presented and discussed, informing participants of how other jurisdictions are addressing nanomaterials opportunities and risks, and the new roles that Canada can play.

Speakers: _____________________Moderator:_____

Available Presentations:                                                                                                              

Dr. Antonia Praetorius Jim Alwood


Health Break

Facilitated Breakout Session 2-2:  Needs Identification and Prioritization
In this session, breakout groups made collective progress toward needs identification and prioritization of issues related to safe and responsible nanomaterials development.

Networking Lunch & Student Innovation Showcase
Nanomaterials innovation and health effects research were brought to the forefront during this session, allowing participants to have a hands-on experience with research being conducted by students at McGill University.

Plenary 2-3:  Policy Café
The outputs of the breakout groups were presented to a panel composed of select speakers, serving to animate a dialogue that engaged all participants.

Facilitators: ________________________________

Thank you and Closing Remarks










Plenary 1-1:  Nanomaterials in Our Daily Lives:  Understanding Their Uses and Benefits


Plenary 1-2:  Impacts of Nanomaterials and Their Implications for Human and Environmental Health


Session 1-3A:  Understanding the State of Science and Research Gaps


Session 1-3B:  Exploring the Technological Applications of Nanomaterials


Session 1-3C:  Applying the Canadian Chemicals Management Framework to Nanomaterials


Plenary 2-1:  International Experiences and/or Approaches to Assessment and Management of Nanomaterials

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Participating Organizations

  • Canadian Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association
  • Carleton University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Consumers Council of Canada
  • Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
  • City of Calgary
  • Delphi Group
  • Duke University
  • Environment Canada
  • GWL Realty Advisors
  • Health Canada
  • Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
  • Institut national de santé publique du Québec
  • Keller and Heckman LLP
  • Matrox
  • McGill University
  • Mount Allison University
  • Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology, and Medicine
  • National Research Council Canada
  • Pollution Probe
  • Risk Sciences International
  • Trent University
  • Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED)
  • United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)
  • Université de Montreal
  • Université Laval
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Guelph
  • University of Vienna
  • University of York
  • Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Vive Corp Protection