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Home > Nanotechnology Columns > Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. > EC Denies 2014 Petition Seeking EU-Wide Ban on Nanoparticles

Lynn L. Bergeson
Managing Director
Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.

Abstract:
On June 29, 2016, the European Commission (EC) provided a notice to the European Parliament regarding its response to a 2014 petition calling for a European Union (EU)-wide ban on microplastics and nanoparticles.

July 12th, 2016

EC Denies 2014 Petition Seeking EU-Wide Ban on Nanoparticles

On June 29, 2016, the European Commission (EC) provided a notice to the European Parliament regarding its response to a 2014 petition calling for a European Union (EU)-wide ban on microplastics and nanoparticles. See http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fNONSGML%2bCOMPARL%2bPE-585.634%2b01%2bDOC%2bPDF%2bV0%2f%2fEN and https://petiportpp.secure.europarl.europa.eu/petitions/en/petition/content/2553%252F2014/html/Petition-No-2553%252F2014-by-Ludwig-B%25C3%25BChlmeier-%2528German%2529-on-microplastics-and-nanoparticles The petition summary states: "Nanoparticles are so small that they penetrate cells effortlessly and can damage them, causing cancer. Because the precautionary principle applies in the EU, the petitioner urges a ban on these small particles as soon as possible." In its response, the EC states that nanoparticles "are ubiquitous in the environment," and while some manufactured nanomaterials may potentially be carcinogenic, others are not. The EC states that the general regulatory framework on chemicals, along with the sectoral legislation, "are appropriate to assess and manage the risks from nanomaterials, provided that a case-by-case assessment is performed." The EC notes that the need to modify the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation to include more specific requirements for nanomaterials was identified. According to the EC, a final impact assessment of the proposed changes is being prepared, and the modification of technical REACH Annexes to include specific considerations for nanomaterials is planned for early 2017. The EC states that it created a web portal intended to improve communication regarding nanomaterials, and that this web portal will soon be superseded by the EU Nano Observatory, which will be managed by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). See https://ihcp.jrc.ec.europa.eu/scientific-tools/web-platform-on-nanomaterials. The EC concludes that it has "no plans for a generic ban of nanomaterials," and as it states in the petition response, "[n]anotechnology has a considerable potential to develop tools that protect human health and the environment and address other societal challenges, and the Commission supports its responsible development and use."

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