Nanomaterials: State of emergence or state of emergency?

nanoECOS’ conference “Nanomaterials: State of Emergence or state of Emergency” was held in December together with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the German Institute for Applied Ecology Öko-Institut. It was organised in the context of the three organisations’ work on the safe development of nanomaterials in Europe. 

The organisers shared recent analysis of the OECD nanomaterial dossier information NGOs, European institutions, industry, and the academic sector. The OECD dossier is often misleadingly considered in regulatory governance discussions as providing considerable scientific information on hazard tests. In reality, very few of the studies in the dossier provide fundamental information on the material tested (e.g. size, shape, surface coating) which renders it useless for regulatory risk assessment needs.

The conference also discussed the state of EU governance of nanomaterials. Its development over the past decade has been particularly slow, especially on revision of the EU chemicals legislation (REACH) and the definition of nanomaterial. The European Commission has yet to publish the required catalogue of nanomaterials found in cosmetics in view of the poor-quality information provided by industry so far.