Posted: November 10, 2009

EU consumer bodies launch nanotechnology consumer product inventory

(Nanowerk News) Two European consumer organisations – the European Consumers' Organisation (BEUC) and the European consumer voice in standardisation (ANEC) – have jointly launched a first stab at a nanotechnology inventory to tell consumers which products on the EU market contain nanomaterials.
ANEC and BEUC are concerned about the increasing number of products claiming to contain nanomaterials which are currently sold in the EU market without having been subject to a proper safety assessment. With this inverntory, the two organisations wish to have a better indication of the potential exposure of consumers to nanomaterials.
The inventory, which currently contains 151 products, should not be considered as an exhaustive list of products available on the EU market. It is only intended as an overview of what consumers can find in the European Union.
The inventory covers categories including computers, flooring, household appliances, garden product and items for children and healthcare. The organisation say they plan to regularly update the inventory, which is available free of charge on their websites.
Launching the inventory, BEUC and ANEC make a series of demands for the regulation of nanotechnology:
  • Clear definitions of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies to guarantee legal certainties and allow the development of regulatory requirements;
  • The application of the precautionary principle in the field of nanotechnologies;
  • The assessment of the safety of nanomaterials by independent scientific bodies before they can be used in consumer products with which consumers come in direct, close or frequent contact (including cosmetics, food and clothing) or in products that could potentially harm the environment;
  • Adequate safety and risk assessment methodologies taking account of all characteristics of nanomaterials;
  • The adaptation of existing European legislation relevant to nanomaterials or the development of new legislation in order to safeguard consumer health and safety, and the environment;
  • The establishment or adaptation of legal requirementsrelated to health and safety (e.g. limit values for certain nanomaterials in products);
  • The establishment of a public inventory of products that contain nanomaterials to ensure transparency about the use of nanomaterials;
  • The labelling of consumer products containing nanomaterials in particular products with which consumers come in direct, close or frequent contact such as cosmetics, food products and clothing;
  • Effective participatory processes in order to allow citizens to fully engage in technological developments which will have an impact on their everyday lives.
  • Source: BEUC