Tougher regulations are welcomed by environmental groups

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted for stricter controls on nanomaterials.

Environmental groups have been pushing for stiffer risk assessments for nano-containing foods as well as stronger labelling requirements.

The move was welcomed by environmental groups.

‘With nanotechnology use expected to mushroom in the coming years, the right framework needs to be put in place now to ensure that the use and release of these micro-materials into the environment does not adversely affect human health or ecosystems,’ said Dragomira Raeva, the European Environmental Bureau’s nanotechnology policy officer.

‘Current safety testing methods do not address the nano-level, which makes it impossible to spot them in products, people or nature,; he added.

The regulations supported by the European Parliament include:

Existing legislation should be reviewed immediately.

Size definition of nanomaterials should be more flexible.

The REACH principle of ‘no data, no market’ should be immediately and fully implemented, meaning that any nano-containing products that have not undergone safety assessments may not be placed on the market or must be taken out of commercial circulation if already on the market.

Nanomaterials should be addressed explicitly within the scope of REACH and legislation currently under revision, such as the Novel Food Regulation, the Provision of Food Information to Consumers Regulation and the Cosmetics Directive. Additional legislation that should be prioritised for review includes laws on workers’ protection, air quality, water quality and waste.

The EEB pushed for the regulations to also include:

All nano-containing products placed on the market (after prior registration and authorisation) should be labelled for identification and traceability purposes. Labelled products should be included in an EU-wide inventory that is available to the public.