Regulating impact asessment standards

Monday, May 8, 2006

The EUś "Reach" directive - Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals - has been described as the most important EU legislation for 20 years. There is a high possibility that the EU will use this legislation to regulate the coming nanotech products.

REACH obligates producer or importer to test any chemical produced or imported in significant quantities has to be tested unless sufficient safety information already exists, at the cost borned by them.

There are some problems however, when REACH is applied:

1. How can REACH be interpreted extensively to nanotech?

2. How can REACH protects finished products that contained nanomaterials (the answer will likely to be impossible, since REACH only regulates chemicals that are manufactured, produced or is imported to the EU, but not "finished products" like laptops)

Nanotechnology is used in products from many different industries outside chemicals such as cosmetics and electronics and these may not be covered by REACH. Another problem is that the properties of materials are known to change at its nanoscale. Directives which are designed to regulate chemicals may not be able to cover this.