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September 23, 2010

Belgium Calls for REACH Register to Ensure Traceability of Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

During a September 14, 2010, conference on nanomaterials management, Paul Magnette, the Belgian Minister for Energy, Environment, Sustainable Development, and Consumer Protection, proposed to create a specific register for nanomaterials under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances (REACH) program and to implement mandatory labeling for nanomaterials used in consumer products. According to Magnette, the next European Environment and Health Action Plan is expected to address the challenge of nanomaterials among its priority areas. In 2011, the European Commission (EC) must also respond to the April 2009 European Parliament (EP) resolution on the regulatory aspects of nanomaterials. The resolution calls for various “ambitious” measures to ensure safety with regard to nanomaterials and nanotechnology. Magnette put forward five proposals from the Belgian Presidency of the European Union (EU) that are intended to respond to consumer needs while ensuring their safety:

  1. Define the obligation to inform the consumer of the presence of nanomaterials in consumer products;
  2. Ensure the traceability of the chain so as to be able to return to the source, if necessary.  Regarding this aspect, it would be obligatory to maintain a register of nanomaterials;
  3. Identify the most appropriate regulatory path at the EU level for risk evaluation and management;
  4. Encourage member states, during this transitory period, to take up the responsibility and draw up integrated national strategies and concrete measures in favor of risk management, information, and monitoring; and
  5. Regulate the claims made on labels of products containing nanomaterials.