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June 3, 2009

EU Examining How REACH Applies to Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson

On May 28, 2009, during the Helsinki Chemicals Forum organized by the European Commission (EC) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), governmental spokespersons said that the way the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program applies to nanoscale substances is being reconsidered. ECHA Executive Director Geert Dancet stated that specific regulation of nanomaterials could be considered when the EC reviews REACH, which it is required to do by June 1, 2012. According to Dancet, the review could cover both the scope and implementation of REACH. Dancet stated that “nanomaterials will be covered in a more systematic way” following the review. European Union (EU) Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas stated that “further work needs to be done to consider if further legislation is needed” to regulate nanomaterials. After the Forum, Dimas stated that separate legislation could be necessary to ensure to protect the environment and human health. According to Dimas, ECHA could manage nanomaterials, or EU legislation concerning fine particles could be used to regulate nanomaterials. The fine particle legislation concerns particles in air rather than in products, however, and a spokesperson for Dimas stated that the EC is “looking at all sorts of possibilities” and that specific approaches are “unexplored as yet.”