On December 7, 2016 the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and the European Commission (EC) announced that they have signed an agreement on the establishment of a European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EU-ON). With the signing of the agreement, the EC “entrusts ECHA with the creation, management and maintenance” of the EU-ON. During the first phase of developing the EU-ON, ECHA will explain what nanomaterials are and how they are used, as well as address safety issues and provide references to research projects. The first phase is scheduled to go online in summer 2017. Later phases shall include “search functionalities and more detailed product information,” ECHA explained. Information sources for the EU-ON will include data generated under different EU regulations (e.g. REACH, biocides regulation, cosmetics regulation), as well as data from national inventories, research projects, and market studies. ECHA stated that the EU-ON shall “bring added value not only to European citizens but also to policy makers, industry, NGOs and workers.” In March 2016, the EC decided that an online observatory would be “the best tool to increase transparency on nanomaterials on the EU market,” (FPF reported). An alternative option would have been to establish an EU-wide registry with mandatory notification of nanomaterials for industry (FPF reported).

The European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic) welcomes the EU-ON stating that it “will proactively collaborate with ECHA and other interested parties in setting up the observatory.” The Nanotechnology Industries Association (NIA) also welcomes the development of the EU-ON stating that it will support “ECHA in the building up of a platform presenting unbiased, science-based information that is respectful of confidential business information.”

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ECHA (December 7, 2016).”Citizens and experts to get more information on nanomaterials.

EC (December 7, 2016). “Commission signs agreement with the European Chemicals Agency to set up an EU Observatory for Nanomaterials (EU-ON).

Cefic (December 7, 2016). “Cefic supports transparency measures: Commission and ECHA sign deal to set up EU observatory on nanomaterials.

NIA (December 8, 2016). “NIA welcomes the Agreement on the Development of the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EU-ON).


EC (December 7, 2016). “Delegation agreement – European Union observatory for nanomaterials and the European Union chemical legislation finder.”