MEPS call for reach reforms to control nanomaterials.
THE EUROPEAN Parliament has made its first demand for a
comprehensive reform of the European Union's (EU) REACH chemical
control system, saying it should be changed to take account of
nanomaterials. These tiny particles are increasingly being integrated in
personal care products and their packaging, and MEPs have growing
concern about their potential impact on the environment and human
health. In a detailed resolution, the parliament called for all
nanomaterials to be considered new substances under REACH, even if they
are merely small particles of chemicals and elements already
pre-registered under the system. This would mean that all nanomaterials
would be subjected to REACH's robust full registration assessment
before being used. MEPs even demanded a simplified registration process
for nanomaterials manufactured or imported below one tonne, the usual
cut-off threshold for chemicals to be considered under REACH.
"Deploring" the current absence of specific EU nanotechnology legislation, the motion stressed that "nanomaterials ... present
significant new risks due to their minute size, such as increased
reactivity and mobility, possibly leading to increased toxicity in
combination with unrestricted access to the human body ..." The
parliament cannot formally propose reforms within the EU's
legislative system, but this detailed policy statement will influence
the European Commission's ongoing assessment of how nanotechnology
should be regulated.