It has not been very long that we have been focussing more closely on nanomaterials and their specific characteristics. Their specific features were not taken into consideration in the regulations related to chemical products. This situation is in the process of changing drastically...
At the European level
Until recently, no European legislation targeted nanomaterials. However, since 2008, the Commission considered that nanomaterials were legally subject to several laws, including those that in general pertained to all chemical products, i.e. the REACH regulation.
Since then, several changes in the European legislation have introduced points specific to nanomaterials, i.e.:
- for biocides
- for cosmetics
- for plastics in contact with food
- and pertaining to consumer information on foodstuff.
The "ObservatoryNano" project prepared a follow-up report on the legislation both at the European level and at the national level of the Member States of the Union and lastly at the global level, and this until March 2012. Presently, the REACH regulations on chemical substances do not differentiate between nanomaterials and other chemical substances. However, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) - assisted by the Member States of the European Union - has published guidance documents for helping companies in taking the specific characteristics of nanomaterials into account in applying the REACH regulations, even if the regulations themselves do not (yet) have specific provisions.
At the Belgian level
More information about the national registry and the Royal Decree of 27th May 2014 concerning the placing on the market of substances produced in nanoparticular state can be found on the page ‘The Registry’.
Moreover, here is an overview about the participation of our FPS to European workgroups:
- Workgroups of the European Commission:
- CASG-nano (workgroup of competent REACH authorities on nanomaterials), CARACAL (group of competent REACH and CLP authorities): discussion on the policies for regulating nanomaterials in the REACH and CLP regulations. More information: activities of the CASG-nano are reported in the minutes of the CARACAL meetings.
- Workgroup of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) on nanomaterials. Focuses on the problems in implementing the REACH regulations. More information on the website of ECHA.
- Workgroups of the European Council:
- WPE: workgroup on environment. Preparation of meetings of the Council of ministers on environment, by a group made up of officials of the twenty-seven Member States. A search in the public records of the Council about nanomaterials and the environment can be made on the website of the Council of the European Union. During the Belgian presidency of this Council in 2010, foundations of a thought-process on the traceability of nanomaterials were laid during an important conference organised by our FPS. This thought-process is currently on-going through work at the Belgian level on traceability and at the level of one-to-one relationship with other Member States of the European Union.
- WPIEI: "international environment" workgroup. To prepare dossiers and coordinate the viewpoints on environment within the framework of international negotiations, such as the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) and SAICM.