Leading medical device company Smith & Nephew is to take part in a new international initiative to develop
a Code of Conduct for businesses working with nanotechnologies.
Scientists from the Smith & Nephew Research Centre in York, England, will be part of a multi-disciplined
working group launched today (Monday 23 July) by the Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA), the
Royal Society, Insight Investment and the Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network.
The aim of the voluntary Code will be to establish good practice for businesses involved in all aspects of
emerging nanotechnologies including research, development, manufacturing, distribution and retailing.
The Smith & Nephew scientists will join representatives from a range of business and government bodies,
including BASF, Unilever and the consumer group Which?
Smith & Nephew’s leading wound management brand Acticoat contains nanocrystalline silver and was
developed using nanotechnology. The company’s Research Centre in York houses one of the few
laboratories around the world where materials can be studied and manipulated at true nanoscale -
measuring one billionth of a metre and invisible to the human eye.
Peter Arnold, Group Director of Technology for Smith & Nephew and on the board of the NIA, said: “Smith &
Nephew recognised from an early stage that nanotechnology is likely to have a major role to play in the
future of the medical devices industry as more bio-therapies and technologies are developed. At the request
of the UK government we pulled together a number of companies to start the NIA. Our goal has been to
work with the international industrial nanotechnology community on a technological roadmap for the future
and to provide industrial safety perspectives that look at the full lifecycle for nanomaterials”.
“We are delighted to lend our scientific expertise to an initiative aimed at uniting key businesses and
organisations behind a code to ensure best practice for the use of these emerging technologies.”
Michael Pitkethly, Chairman of the NIA, added: “The NIA provides a unique industrial perspective and input
to Government on issues and policy relating to nanotechnologies. It actively raises awareness of
nanotechnology with consumers and communicates the existing mitigation studies already carried out in
industry to ensure the safety of these beneficial technologies. The development of this Code is a key
element of the NIA’s approach to the responsible use of nanotechnology and we are please to be a founding
Lord Selborne, chair of the working group said: “Nanotechnologies are generating a huge amount of
excitement, with the industry growing extremely fast. But business is operating in a climate of technical,
social and commercial uncertainty concerning these relatively new technologies. In light of this we are
aiming to develop a code, with extensive stakeholder input, that will indicate best practice for companies
across the value chain from nanomaterials producers to consumer product retailers.”