The European Commission (EC) Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Committee voted on April 26 to amend several REACH Annexes to clarify the registration requirements for nanomaterials. According to the European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) press release, the amendments address the knowledge gap regarding which substances registered under REACH are placed on the market as nanomaterials and in what quantities.
The amendments will enable both companies and authorities to know more about the characteristics of nanomaterials, how they are used, how they are handled safely, what risks they potentially pose to health and the environment and how these risks are controlled.
The draft Commission Regulation is now subject to scrutiny by the Parliament and Council for a period of three months before being adopted by the Commission. ECHA will already start to assess the need to update existing, or issue new guidance to support registrants in complying with the new requirements.
As soon as the proposal is formally adopted, ECHA encourages registrants of nanoform substances to familiarise themselves with the amendments and assess what action they need to take to comply.
The EC held a public consultation in 2017 on a draft regulation that would amend the Annexes.
Nanomaterials are chemical substances or materials with particle sizes between1 to 100 nanometres (nms) in at least one dimension.
Due to the increased specific surface area by volume, nanomaterials may have different characteristics compared to the same material without nanoscale features. Therefore, the physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials may differ from those of the bulk substances or particles of a larger size.
A large number of products containing nanomaterials are already on the European market (e.g. batteries, coatings, anti-bacterial clothing, cosmetics, food products). Nanomaterials offer technical and commercial opportunities, but may pose risks to the environment and raise health and safety concerns for humans and animals.
Nanotechnology in energy
Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale (1 to 100 nanometers). Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.
Nanotechnologies provide the potential to enhance energy efficiency across all branches of industry and to economically leverage renewable energy production through new technological solutions and optimized production technologies. Nanotechnology innovations could impact each part of the value-added chain in the energy sector: energy sources, energy conversion, energy distribution, energy storage, energy usage.