The European Commission (EC) has announced a public consultation on the Nanomaterial Annexes to the regulations governing the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical (REACH) substances. As recommended in the General Review of REACH published in February 2013, the consultation will contribute to the Commission’s “impact assessment of relevant regulatory options, in particular possible amendments of REACH Annexes, to ensure further clarity on how nanomaterials are addressed and safety regulations demonstrated in registration dossiers.”

To this end, the EC has asked “informed experts user[s]” to complete a questionnaire about the technical provisions of the REACH Annexes, including whether the current definition of nanomaterials has changed the way companies account for nanomaterials in their portfolio or conduct safety assessments. The survey also seeks input on five proposals being considered by the Commission as it looks to update REACH’s registration requirements by the end of 2013. These proposals include (i) altering the current provisions to clarify existing obligations; (ii) introducing “soft law” measures that are not legally-binding, such as updated guidance, FAQS and other expert documents; (iii) specifying options for demonstrating safe use “in cases where the existing information requirements in REACH are not tailored for nanomaterials or where specific considerations are required for nanomaterials”; (iv) enhancing innovation and competitiveness by tailoring information requirements for nanomaterials placed on the market and reducing certain information requirements; and (v) emphasizing the “generation of targeted information with the objective of reduction of uncertainty considering that knowledge is still under development regarding the influence of particle and nanomaterial specific properties on risk.” EC will accept responses to the consultation until September 13, 2013.