REACH – New criteria helps companies better assess safety and impact of nanomaterials

On December 3, 2018 the European Commission adopted the revision of several Annexes of the EU Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), clarifying the registration requirements with regard to nanomaterials. Nanomaterials are chemical substances in a particular form (“nanoform”) with special features at the “nanoscale” between 1 nm and 100 nm. Due in part to these special features, nanomaterials can be used in many different and innovative ways, for example in catalysts, electronics, solar panels, batteries, in materials science and biomedical applications. REACH has always applied to nanomaterials, but did not contain specific provisions for them, which is why companies often did not know how to register these “substances in nanoform”. Scientific evidence has shown that the toxicity of nanoforms as well as their effect on the environment often differs from the conventional substance. The new registration requirements for nanomaterials will apply as of 1 January 2020. They will help close the knowledge gap about which nanomaterials are placed on the market and in which quantities. They will also provide information on their basic characteristics and use, how to handle them safely, what risks they potentially pose to health and the environment and how these risks can be adequately controlled. More detailed information on the presence and perspectives of products containing nanomaterials can be found at the European Observatory for Nanomaterials. More information on the revision of the Annexes is available online.