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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.
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Author:Nuthall, Keith
Publication:International News
Date:May 1, 2009
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