European Commission issues long-awaited update to definition of nanomaterials


The European Commission has published its long-overdue revised definition of nanomaterials – a set of clarifications it hopes will improve the way nanoparticles are identified for the purposes of regulation and align EU legislation across all sectors.

However, the changes will not “significantly affect” the scope of those identified, the EU executive said. NGOs have cried foul that their concerns were not properly considered, warning of loopholes and worrisome exclusions of many known nanomaterials from the definition.

The Commission’s recommendation, published on 10 June, ticks a box for the EU chemicals strategy, bringing to an end a review of the 2011 definition that was due more than seven years ago. Long delays have irked stakeholders, especially as manufacturers have been required to register nano substances under a REACH annex since 2020.

Most of the changes had been on the cards since the Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) first proposed them in 2015.

They do not alter the core elements of the 2011 recommendation, which defines nanomaterials as substances with 50% of particles or more between 1nm-100nm. There was no scientific evidence to decrease or increase the default threshold of 50%, the Commission said.

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Chemical Watch, 16-06-22