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Consumers criticise case-by-case approach to nanomaterial safety

The Green party and consumer groups have criticised the European Commission for failing to adopt stricter regulations on nanomaterials, calling for more control of their safety.

The comments were made in response to the Commission’s second regulatory review on nanomaterials, which concludes that evaluation of the materials’ safety should be treated on a case-by-case basis. The review also finds that Reach (Registration, evaluation, authorisation, and restriction of chemicals), the EU’s existing chemical regulation legislation, is good enough to be applied to nanomaterials.

These results have attracted criticism from political and consumer groups that feel more legislation is needed. Another concern is that there is not enough information available on the safety of these materials.

Green environment and public health spokesperson Carl Schlyter said: “It is highly misleading to suggest that the generic rules of Reach, designed for normal substances, are appropriate for nanomaterials, and contradictory to the calls for a case-by-case approach for the risk assessment of nanomaterials.”

However, chemicals lobby group Cefic said it “welcomed” the Commission’s decision.

The first regulatory review on nanomaterials was adopted in 2009.