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September 10, 2021

SCHEER Questions Whether Draft EQSs for Silver and Its Compounds Should Address Silver Nanomaterials

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On September 7, 2021, the European Commission (EC) Scientific Committee on Health, Environmental and Emerging Risks (SCHEER) posted a preliminary opinion on “Draft Environmental Quality Standards for Priority Substances under the Water Framework Directive” for silver and its compounds. The Water Framework Directive requires the EC to identify priority substances among those presenting significant risk to or via the aquatic environment and to set environmental quality standards (EQS) for those substances in water, sediment, and/or biota. The Directorate-General for Environment (DG Environment) asked SCHEER to review the draft EQSs for proposed priority substances, including silver and its compounds. According to SCHEER, the issues that need to be revised include whether silver nanomaterials should “be considered as silver compounds or should nanomaterials, of any origin, be considered as particular compounds to be assessed separately?” SCHEER notes that the health and environmental effects of nanosilver, including the role in antimicrobial resistance, were evaluated in two Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR, 2014) and Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS, 2018) opinions. SCHEER states that “this is a relevant issue that should be at least mentioned in the dossier.” Comments on the preliminary opinion are due October 7, 2021.