Following the EC’s announcement of a second regulatory review for nanomaterials, the Joint Research Centre has participated, together with other Commission Directorates-Generals (DGs), in the preparation of the Communication.
The EC announcement came after it stated that nanotechnology has the potential to create major technological breakthroughs and rekindle economic growth.
Thus, the plan is to improve EU law to ensure its safe use.
The JRC is actively involved in providing scientific support to EU policy making in the field of nanomaterials.
Its activities focus mainly on facilitating EU-wide harmonization and standardization of analytical methods needed to implement EU measures, on providing reference materials, and on contributing to the development of improved and harmonized safety assessment methods.
The JRC works on developing and validating methods to detect and identify nanomaterials in consumer products, such as sunscreens, as well as on adapting and optimizing in-vitro test methods for hazard assessment of nanomaterials, done in close collaboration with research partners.
The European Commission announced it will adopt the new regulatory review; ensuring assessments are done on a case-by-case approach, benefitting the cosmetics industry which has been using safe levels for years but had to deal with wider regulation.
Nanomaterials are diverse in nature and types, ranging from everyday materials that have been used safely for decades to highly-sophisticated industrial materials, making it difficult to regulate if all grouped together.
There is also an increasing body of information on the hazard properties of nanomaterials, which are difficult to generalize and justify specific risk assessments.
“Nanomaterials require a risk assessment, which should be performed on a case-by-case basis, using pertinent information. Current risk assessment methods are applicable, even if work on particular aspects of risk assessment is still required,” says the EC’s communication.