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EC Commissioner explains that Precautionary Principle underpins several Regulations on Nano

In a response to a question on whether the ‘[…] precautionary principle should be taken in view of the proven toxicity of nanomaterials’, the European Commission’s (EC) Commissioner for the Environment stated that, in fact, the precautionary principle already provides the foundation for a number of EC regulations; namely for REACH, and for the Cosmetics Regulation.

In both cases, the answer continued, manufacturers of nanomaterials must notify the authorities of their intention to place them on the market. In the case of the REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation, which ‘implicitly […] covers nanomaterials’, these ‘substances […] must be registered prior to being manufactured […] or used’. The answer pointed out that this allows for restrictive measures to be taken if they are deemed necessary and appropriate.

The Commissioner further stated that, ‘based on the current level of scientific information about risks from nanomaterials, there are no grounds to introduce additional specific risk management measures […] as such’. Nevertheless he noted that the issue was being looked at - NANoREG, a large FP7 project, ‘will address specific questions for the regulatory testing of nanomaterials’.

Finally, and in response to a question on whether the EC ‘intended to factor into its analysis […] the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recommended limiting [of] the concentration of [carbon nanotubes and nanofibres] in certain products’, the Commissioner responded that the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL) was looking at a draft of a CNT document that ‘alluded to’ this information.


Follow this link to read the full transcript of the answer, these links to read NIA’s reporting on the latest developments of the Cosmetics Regulation and the REACH Regulation, and this link to learn about the NANoREG project and how NIA is involved in it.

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