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17 December 2014

EU nanomaterials register looks unlikely

The establishment of an EU nanomaterials register following similar national initiatives in France, Belgium and Denmark is looking unlikely following a meeting of the member states Competent Authority Subgroup on Nanomaterials (CASG-nano) held in Brussels in early December.

A register is not an appropriate way to provide consumers with relevant information on nanomaterials, the European Commission told participants, arguing that the French nanomaterials register, for example, does not include any information on specific consumer products containing such materials.

Moreover, the Commission said, according to an evaluation report on the French scheme which it commissioned, 62% of the substances notified to the French register in 2013 are already covered by REACH registrations, although the coverage of their nanoforms in the latter is unclear. The report adds that 90% of the substances in the French register last year are expected to have a REACH registration dossier by 2018. However, some meeting participants questioned whether these figures are realistic as the current number of registered nanomaterials under REACH is very low.

Even if many industry representatives told the public consultation on transparency measures that they would prefer an EU nanomaterials register to a number of different national ones, the Commission said the latter have no major impact on the flow of goods containing nanomaterials on the EU market, and thus there is no compelling reason to introduce an EU register.

If a register is introduced, full coverage of all nanosubstances and mixtures containing nanosubstances would be difficult to achieve, participants were told. Exemptions could be introduced, but it would be hard to justify why some category of products benefited from these and not others, the meeting heard.

Representatives of three EU member states challenged the Commission's conclusions. Others were very supportive of them, with at least one country not wanting any further rules on nanomaterials.

The formal Commission decision on any action to increase the transparency of nanomaterials on the EU market is expected in mid-2015, following the finalisation of an impact assessment, scheduled for April.

Source: Chemical Watch

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