On 11 February 2011 the European Union's Ecolabel Board (EUEB) decided against an exclusion of products containing nanomaterials from cleaning products and lubricants that could be awarded with the Ecolabel. In a joint paper, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) pushed for a ban of nanomaterials from All Purpose Cleaners (APCs) and Hand Dishwashing Detergents (HHDs) that could be awarded an Ecolabel.
According to the European Ecolabel website (European Commission, DG Environment), the EU Ecolabel is 'a voluntary scheme, established in 1992 to encourage businesses to market products and services that are kinder to the environment. Products and services awarded the Ecolabel carry the flower logo, allowing consumers - including public and private purchasers - to identify them easily...product groups include cleaning products, appliances, paper products, textile and home and garden products, lubricants and services such as tourist accommodation...While the logo may be simple, the environmental criteria behind it are tough, and only the very best products, which are kindest to the environment, are entitled to carry the EU Ecolabel'.
The EEB/BEUC joint paper explains that the EUEB initially found that 'a majority of the Member States are in favour of excluding nanomaterials because of lack of evidence and verification methods of these materials. EEB and BEUC supported this ban...[but] the Commission unilaterally decided to delete criterion 4(f) that prohibited the use of nanomaterials. Instead, the Commission proposed to delete any reference to nanomaterials and to regulate nanoforms under criterion 3 (c) on hazardous substances and mixtures'.
The final decision of the EUEB concerning nanomaterials in APCs and HHDs allows for 'nanoforms' to be approved in the same way as other materials; approval is dependent on satisfying certain information requirements - as a minimum, those specified in the EU REACH regulation.