DuPont made the announcement yesterday during the launch of a system of procedures to help companies evaluate the safety of nanotechnology engineered products. The company calls its product DuPont Light Stabilizer 210, a new titanium dioxide-based material. It is designed as sun protection for plastics. Overlong exposure to sunlight can break down components in plastic packaging, causing a change in colour. Not all of the particles in this product fit the specific definition of nanomaterials, since a significant fraction of the materials is larger than the threshold 100 nanometer size, DuPont said. However, the material was used to test the framework's methodology, which DuPont said helped it develop a comprehensive exposure and hazard profile prior to commercialisation. An announcement about the product and its commercial availability will be made in the "near future", DuPont said. DuPont developed the framework with Environmental Defense, a US non-profit organisation. The two developed the Nano Risk Framework for use around the world by small and large companies, regulatory agencies, universities, and others with an interest in commercialising nanoscale materials. "The goal was to develop a systematic and disciplined process for evaluating and addressing the environmental, health and safety risks of nanomaterials across all stages of a product's lifecycle - from initial sourcing through manufacture, use, and recycling or disposal," DuPont stated. The system outlines a six-step process organisations can use to identify, assess and manage potential risks. The six steps involve describing the material and the intended application, profiling its lifecycle, evaluating the associated risks, assessing management options, deciding and documenting actions, and regularly reviewing new information. "Nanotechnology has the potential to unleash innovations in materials, energy, and other fields that could lead to powerful environmental and health benefits," Environmental Defense said in a statement. "Our intent is to help reap the full promise of this technology without creating unintended consequences. We want to get this right the first time around." In addition a new titanium dioxide-based product, DuPont tested the methodology on carbon nanotubes and zero valent iron it has developed using nanotechnology. "Each represents a different position for DuPont in the value chain and is at a different stage of development," the company stated. The company has incorporated carbon nanotubes into polymer nanocomposites to improve mechanical and electrical properties of engineering thermoplastics.