On November 30, 2017, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) published an analysis of the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) that was launched by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) in June 2017 (FPF reported). The European Commission (EC) had decided on the establishment of the EUON instead of a mandatory registration system for nanomaterials and assigned the task to develop and host the observatory to ECHA (FPF reported). RIVM noted that the Netherlands, together with other EU countries, was in favor of a mandatory EU nano-register.

The EUON “depends upon information about nanomaterials that is already available from other sources,” such as the EU regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), RIVM explained. However, the “risk assessment framework [of REACH] is not yet sufficiently suitable for nanomaterials,” RIVM pointed out. Therefore, the EUON “is limited in detailed information” and “it will remain difficult for consumers, as well as others, to judge whether they are actually using a ‘nanoproduct’ and what the potential health consequences are of such use.” To ensure that the EUON will contribute to reducing the uncertainty regarding the safety of nanomaterials, “it is key to continue urging the EC to provide necessary preconditions such as an update of the REACH Annexes, a harmonized and unequivocal EU definition on nanomaterials, and (financial) future commitment of the EC,” RIVM concluded its analysis.

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RIVM (November 30, 2017). “A critical look at the European Union Observatory for Nanomaterials.

Chemical Watch (December 5, 2017). “Impact of EU nano observatory ‘limited’, RIVM says.