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16 October 2014

Belgium gets nanomaterials registry

Belgian legislation on placing on the market substances manufactured in nanoparticle form was gazetted in Belgium’s Moniteur Belge legal newspaper on 24 September. The new law establishes a registry of nanomaterials which the Belgian authorities are hoping will improve the traceability of nanomaterial-containing products and scientific knowledge about their potential toxicity.

Substances manufactured in nanoparticle form and mixtures containing such substances have to be registered before they can be marketed. If a suspected risk to the health of workers or the public arises, the Belgian authorities can require a declarant to give more detailed information on the dangers and hazards associated with these substances (Article 18).

Naturally-occurring nanoparticle substances and those that are merely by-products of an industrial process fall outside the new rules.

The registry is set to be operational by 1 January 2016 which is when substances have to be registered; mixtures will only have to be registered from 1 January 2017. After evaluation, the products will be registered later.

Last May, the European Commission set going a public consultation on possible measures, including establishing a European inventory, to increase transparency of the European market in nanomaterials. Belgium is the second EU country after France where nanomaterials must be registered before they can be marketed. Discussions on an inventory are also under way in Denmark.

The Commission also has yet to publish the revised definition of “nanomaterial” to move forward the efforts it is making to establish an EU-wide nano registry.

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