EU adopts new criteria for assessment of nanomaterials

It will provide information on nano-based materials' basic characteristics and impact

Photo: EPA View of a nano-satellite inside the NanoSat Lab in Barcelona

On Monday, EU's executive arm adopted the revision of several Annexes of the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), clarifying the registration requirements with regard to nanomaterials.

Nanomaterials are chemical substances in a particular form ("nanoform") with special features at the "nanoscale" between 1 nm and 100 nm. Due in part to these special features, novel nano-based materials can be used in many different and innovative ways. For example, they are finding applications in areas including health, energy, photonics, manufacturing and information and communications technologies.

Until now, however, REACH did not contain specific provisions for them, even though it applied to them. Thus, companies often did not know how to register these "substances in nanoform". So the new registration requirements for nanomaterials will help close the knowledge gap about which nanomaterials are placed on the market and in which quantities. They will also provide information on their basic characteristics and use, how to handle them safely, what risks they potentially pose to health and the environment and how these risks can be adequately controlled.

According to the European Observatory for Nanomaterials, the new criteria will apply as of 1 January 2020.  

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