The publication comes in time to contribute to discussions at a stakeholder conference on nanomaterials organised by the European Commission and the Swedish Presidency taking place on 9th October.
The report reviews the current uncertainties associated with the governance of
nanotechnologies where their development and commercialisation is outpacing
government oversight, risk management and public debate. It examines regulatory
initiatives and responses, voluntary codes and practices and the progress of
international cooperation in coordinating nanotechnology governance.
The report also presents NGO initiatives for nano regulation calling for the application of
the precautionary principle and pre-market registration of materials. It is the third in a
series of publications on nanotechnologies questioning how these can assist in solving
21st century global challenges.
“Efforts to ‘nano-proof’ existing legislation such as REACH, Novel Foods and
Cosmetics have led to fragmented and confusing approaches to nanotechnologies
oversight,” said Dragomira Raeva, EEB Nanotechnology Policy Officer, “Europe
needs an overarching policy and regulatory framework which addresses the various
applications of nanotechnologies coherently and comprehensively to ensure better
environmental and human health protection in a growing area of innovation.”
EEB proposes that the safe and responsible development and application of
nanotechnologies in the EU should be done through a dedicated nanotechnologyspecific
regulatory framework that includes the following aspects:
A pre-market registration and approval framework for nanomaterials
designed to anticipate future applications before they are put on the market.
Public consultation on technological innovation, including
nanotechnologies and nanomaterials so that public opinion plays a more
central role in helping to shape nano’s development and to guide research
towards only those technologies with true social benefits and improvements.
Requisite legislation before further market penetration of nanomaterials
and not just reviews and fragmented adjustment of existing legislation.
EEB expects that the findings of the report will help to guide the EU effort on the
responsible governance of nanotechnologies by putting health, environment
protection and democratic decision-making before potentially unsafe or unsustainable