EU Commission Finds Existing Regulatory Framework to be Sufficient for Governing Nanomaterials
The EU Commission issued a report last week determining that nanotechnology is covered under the 2007 REACH chemicals regulatory framework, which was established to govern the safe use of chemicals (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and restriction of CHemical substances). As such, the Commission plans to modify parts of the REACH legislation to include nanomaterials, as part of its assumption that the current legislative framework already covers, in large part, the risks posed by new nanomaterial developments. However, officials have noted the lack of comprehensive information that exists for the risks of nanotechnology and the need for case-by-case analysis. The European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) has stated its approval of the Commission’s decision, believing that current regulations already ensure that nanomaterials are safely produced and used by companies and consumers—particularly as “nano” is only an indication of size not property, thus chemical regulations adequately cover these developments.
Regardless, not all European parties are satisfied by the Commission’s view of nanotechnology regulation. The Greens in the European Parliament, as well as some consumer groups, do not believe that nanomaterials are comparable to normal chemical substances, and viewed this decision as a “lack of progress in improving transparency on nanomaterials and products.” Consequently, some European countries are implementing national registers for nanomaterials.
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