UK government’s nano plan criticised by consumer organisation

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nanotechnology, Nanomaterials

The British government’s nanotechnology strategy was released this month and aims to develop the technology in the UK to benefit the economy and consumers alike.

However, the strategy has not been universally acclaimed and according to UK consumer organisation Which? the plan fails to deliver.

Within the strategy, the British government says its will create a Nanotechnologies Leadership Group which will address barriers to the growth of technology.

Government to continue to fund research

In addition, the report states the government will continue to fund research on human and environmental safety issues and will also involve itself in international research projects such as the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Nanotechnology Working Parties and the EU’s Framework Programme.

“The UK will work to influence the future scope of these projects,”​ reads the report.

Furthermore, the government proposes to monitor the success and implementation of nanospecific amendments to existing regulatory frameworks affecting consumer goods.

Such frameworks include the European Cosmetics Directive and the regulation on novel foods, as well as the new chemicals regulation REACH.

A recent amendment to the Cosmetics Directive will see the mandatory labelling of nanoparticles on cosmetics products and is expected to come into force in 2013.

The report also proposes the expansions in scope of Britain’s voluntary reporting scheme to include products as well as materials.

Which? critical of plans

For Which? the lack of mandatory reporting is one of the failures of the report that it describes as a ‘non-strategy’.

“Yet again the Government has dodged some central issues around nanotechnologies, such as the need for a mandatory reporting scheme and plugging research gaps,” ​said Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith.

“This strategy was supposed to deliver clear direction to drive this technology forward – instead the Government has rehashed old news and failed to act on key concerns,”​ he added.

Which? believes there should be a mandatory reporting scheme for companies using manufactured nano materials, as well as mandatory pre-market assessment and approval of products developed using nanotechnology.

Related topics: Formulation & Science

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