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German environment agency recommends nanomaterial safety measures

Germany's environment agency (UBA) has drawn up recommendations on safety measures for nanomaterials. It says the European Commission should adopt them to identify and assess risks to the environment.

A UBA report says that, with few exceptions, there are not specific provisions for nanomaterials in substance legislations. As a result: "specific environmental risks cannot be described and assessed adequately, and appropriate measures to minimise the risks cannot be taken."

The UBA's recommendations include:

  • harmonised definitions of nanomaterials in regulations on the safety of chemicals;
  • nano-specific requirements for REACH, as well as for regulations on biocidal products and plant protection products. Also for the directives on human and veterinary medicinal products;
  • adapted guidelines and models for hazard and risk assessment. These to include the development of nanomaterial-specific test guidelines and guidance documents;
  • standardised methods for characterisation and qualitative and quantitative analytics for nanomaterials in the environment;
  • development of substance group and analogy concepts for nanomaterials, to reduce the test demands while ensuring appropriate assessment;
  • using information relating to the relevant nanoform for classification in hazard classes and categories; and
  • establishing a register of products containing nanomaterials in Europe.

The UBA says the European Commission "should quickly and constructively define nanomaterials for regulation, including nanomaterial specific requirements for REACH."

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