european unionA nanomaterial review meant to quell concerns raised by European legislators fails to propose a strategy for protecting nanotechnology workers, says the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).

The Second Regulatory Review on Nanomaterials, published recently by the European Commission, aims at assessing the implementation of EU legislation for nanomaterials and respond to issues raised by the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic and Social Committee.

However, the ETUI is sharply critical of the work, charging that it will not result in protecting workers who handle or come in contact with nanomaterials.

The ETUI finds that:

  • “The whole logic behind REACH registration dossiers is flawed as the description of each nanomaterial and the information submitted by the registrants under REACH is insufficient and not useful to assess nanomaterials.
  • “There is insufficient data and the Commission is not willing to adapt and make the rules for chemical safety assessment applicable to nanomaterials. The ETUI believes that no nanomaterials products should be in the market without their potential human health and environment effects being known.
  • “There is no intention to adapt the Chemicals Agents Directive 98/24/EC. More information is needed to develop the necessary detailed guidelines on the risk assessment of nanoparticles.
  • “Information on the health of workers involved in the manufacturing and processing of nanoparticules is missing the in the Communication as well as in the Staff Working Paper.”

The ETUI points to the Commission’s request for additional data results on occupational health and safety legislation by 2014 as evidence that the strategy on worker’s protection “is not sufficiently informed” and that issues related to product registry and worker’s registry call for an appropriate regulatory framework.