German regulator warns about nanomaterial risks, urges laws

21 October 2009 18:56  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s federal environmental agency on Wednesday warned about the growing risks of nanomaterials and technologies, and called for a legislative framework, including a registration system for products containing nanomaterials.

The Umweltbundesamt also urged chemical and other producers to provide meaningful data on the environmental and health risks of nanomaterials.

In the meantime, it advised consumers to avoid products containing nanomaterials insofar as their health and environmental impacts remained largely unknown.

However, the agency also acknowledged the importance of the growing nanomaterials sector for Germany's chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, materials and other industries.

According to the agency, Germany already has some 800 firms that are active in nanotechnology.

Last year, the country’s chemicals industry association, VCI, issued a set of guidelines on the safety and responsible use of nanomaterials to support producers and customers.

Meanwhile, in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could soon launch a mandatory nanomaterials data programme.

A top EPA official said earlier this year that the US chemicals sector had failed to demonstrate that a voluntary approach would work.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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