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Posted: April 2, 2009
European Parliament: 'no data, no market' for nanotechnology products
(Nanowerk News) The European Parliament's environment committee this week adopted a report by Swedish Green MEP Carl Schlyter which calls for tighter controls on nanotechnology, including the application of the 'no data, no market' principle contained in the REACH Directive.
The own-initiative, non-binding report calls for products containing nanotechnology which are already on the market to be withdrawn until safety assessments can be made.
The European Environmental Bureau, a network of environmental NGOs, hailed the report as a significant victory in the ongoing debate on how to legislate for fast-moving developments in nanoscience.
Schlyter said the report, which was adopted on March 31 by 21 votes to 14, had not been easy to negotiate, as political groups had been changing their position throughout the process.
"It's difficult to find a line where we can get support, because the issue is still so new," he told the committee ahead of the vote.
The committee's decision comes in the wake of last week's vote on the Novel Food Regulation, when MEPs voted for definition, labelling and specific risk assessments for nano-containing foods.
Welcoming the vote, the EEB said it was pleased that the committee had taken on board suggestions made by NGOs in relation to the definition of nanotechnology, the need for labelling of products containing nanoparticles and an immediate review of existing legislation.
"We are immensely pleased that Parliament disagreed with the European Commission's opinion that nanomaterials are in principle covered by existing legislation and better implementation alone could effectively oversee this important and complex emerging technology," said Dragomira Raeva, the EEB's nanotechnology policy officer.
"With nanotechnology use expected to mushroom in the coming years, the right framework needs to be put in place now to ensure that the use and release of these micromaterials into the environment does not adversely affect human health or ecosystems. Current safety testing methods do not address the nano-level, which makes it impossible to spot them in products, people or nature," she said.