Review of the legislative coverage of nanomaterials under EU legislation
Client: European Commission / DG Environment
In light of the rapid growth in the number and diversity of applications of nanomaterials in products, it can be expected that emissions of nanomaterials into the environment will increase through multiple exposure pathways. The European Parliament recognised this in its Resolution of 24 April 2009, Regulatory aspects of Nanomaterials, which explicitly calls on the Commission to evaluate the need to review waste legislation, emission limit values and environmental quality standards in air and water legislation to adequately address nanomaterials.
In response to this request, DG Environment contracted Milieu and AMEC Environment & Infrastructure UK Ltd to assess whether key EU environmental legislation adequately addresses nanomaterials.
The first step in this project was to review environmental legislation for waste, water and other relevant acts as regards their legal coverage of nanomaterials and, where possible, implementation on the ground, using a systematic methodological framework. A second step involved the identification and description of legislative and implementation gaps in environmental legislation, including details on whether gaps relate to a lack of legal coverage, limitations in technical capacities or dependences on other legislation.
In order to test the evidence and conclusions gathered under the first two steps, a stakeholder workshop was held on 20 June 2011 at DG Environment, where representatives from Member States and from the Commission services were invited to provide feedback. In addition, the workshop provided an opportunity for gathering up-to-date information on Member State activities regarding nanomaterials and their potential environmental impacts. Comments received at the workshop were integrated into the Final Report of the project.
The Commission is currently preparing their response to Parliament on the environmental coverage of nanomaterials under EU environmental legislation. It is expected that this response will be informed by the Milieu review.