'Every transistor in a computer chip would...include a hazardous substance,' Steffi Friedrichs, Director General of the international Nanotechnology Industries Association, comments on the recent vote of the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) to support a set of amendments to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) (in electronic equipment) Directive, which includes a call for labelling of ‘nanomaterials’, identified as such according to a definition originally drafted for the Novel Foods Regulation recast. 'Labelling is an understandable consumer demand, but it needs to be practical, and labelling every computer chip would be nonsensical,' she continues.
An interview with the Royal Society of Chemistry explains that ‘MEPs have called for nanosilver and long multiwalled carbon nanotubes to be banned in electrical and electronic products. Members of the EU Environment Committee made the call as they voted on proposed amendments to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive. Their stance on nanomaterials was in addition to the EU proposals, and as well as asking for these two to be banned, they said that any electrical and electronic materials that contained nanomaterials of any nature should be labelled as such. Manufacturers would be compelled to provide the European Commission with safety data on any nanomaterials used’.
The Parliament is expected to vote on the ENVI-Committee proposal in October 2010.
Follow these links to read the full RSC interview, or to find out more about the nanomaterials debate in the European RoHS/WEEE Directives Recast.