On July 10, 2015 the European Commission’s (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC) announced that it has published the final of three reports on the definition of nanomaterials as recommended by the EC (EC Recommendation 2011/696/EU). The two previous reports compiled and assessed stakeholder experience with the current nanomaterial definition (FPF reported). In its third report, JRC presents science-based options to improve the clarity and applicability of the definition. The EC will now assess these options against policy issues.

JRC suggests that the scope of the definition should remain unchanged and address nanomaterials with natural, incidental and manufactured origin. Size shall be maintained as the sole defining property of a nanoparticle. Also, the range of 1 nm to 100 nm shall remain as definition of the nanoscale. Several terms, such as “particle” and “external dimension”, still need to be defined more precisely and additional terms could be included to further clarify the EC recommendation. To prove that a material is not a nanomaterial and to avoid unintended inclusion of certain materials under the current nanomaterial definition, additional criteria could be incorporated in future. Beyond clarification of the nanomaterial definition, there is need for specific guidance, e.g. in the form of scientific-technical guidance documents.


Read more

JRC (July 10, 2015). “Options for the review of the EC nanomaterial definition published.

Nanotechnology Industries Association (July 13, 2015). “EC JRC concludes review of EC recommendation for a definition of nanomaterial.

Food Packaging Forum (June 25, 2013). Nanomaterials.


JRC (June 2015). “Towards a review of the EC Recommendation for a definition of the term “nanomaterial” Part 3: Scientific-technical evaluation of options to clarify the definition and to facilitate its implementation.(pdf)