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November 18, 2014

EP Committee Study on Legislative Areas of the TTIP Addresses Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Parliament (EP) Committee on Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety (ENVI) has posted a study entitled ENVI Relevant Legislative Areas of the EU-US Trade and Investment Partnership Negotiations (TTIP).  The study analyzes the main differences between European Union (EU) and U.S. legislation in eight areas:  human medicines and medical devices; cosmetics; food and nutrition; sanitary and phyto-sanitary; nanomaterials; cloning; raw materials and energy; and motor vehicles.  According to the study, while nanomaterials are regulated under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation in the EU and the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in the U.S., “REACH is much more stringent than TSCA.”  Under REACH, all chemicals on the EU market must be registered, which includes the submission of safety data.  Under TSCA, the submission of safety data is required only in particular cases, and chemicals on the market before 1976 can remain on the market without any testing or registration requirements.  In addition, the study states, fewer restrictions on chemicals are imposed in the U.S., “where a large amount of information on chemicals may be kept confidential.”  While there are currently no nanomaterial labeling policies in the U.S., several EU regulations require the labeling of nanomaterials contained in specific products, in particular cosmetics and food.  According to the study, specific legislation dedicated to nanomaterials is still under development in the EU and U.S.  The study states that, in addition to explicit rules for nanomaterials, “a definition of [nanomaterials] should be agreed at international level to enhance the dialogue between stakeholders from different countries or sectors and thus the harmonisation of legislation related to [nanomaterials].”