On 13 May 2014, the Commission launched a public consultation to identify and develop the most adequate means to increase transparency and ensure regulatory oversight of nanomaterials. According to the Commission’s draft impact assessment report, the main problem that the Commission aims to address is the current level of available information on the presence of nanomaterials and products containing nanomaterials on the market which it considers insufficient for an adequate response to health and environmental risks and for informed consumer choice. In addition, it has identified diverging national approaches of registration and notification systems for nanomaterials or products containing nanomaterials.

The Commission’s draft impact assessment report indicates that it is considering the following policy options:

  • Baseline scenario: the use of the existing EU legislative framework (e.g. the registration and notification duties under the REACH Regulation);
  • Soft law approach: a recommendation of a "best practice model" for implementation at Member State level;
  • Structured approach: the establishment of a "Nanomaterials Observatory" to collect information;
  • Legislative approach: the adoption of one of the following:
    • a Regulation creating an EU nanomaterial registry with one annual registration per substance for each manufacturer/importer/downstream user/distributor; or,
    • a Regulation creating an EU nanomaterial registry with one annual registration per use (including substances, mixtures and articles with intended release)

Responses to the public consultation must be submitted by 5 August 2014.

Further details in relation to the Commission’s consultation are available here