German chemical industry rejects call to ban nanosilver

02 December 2009 19:43  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s chemical industry on Wednesday rejected a call to ban consumer products containing nanosilver, and it reiterated its position that nanomaterials were well regulated.

Frankfurt-based chemical producers group VCI was reacting to a call for a ban by BUND, a German environmental group.

Citing its own studies, BUND said that nanosilver posed serious health and ecological risks.

Nanosilver is a widely used nanomaterial. It acts as a germicide in appliances, cosmetics, textiles, colours and medical products, as well as packaging.

BUND said that the EU’s REACH chemical safety regulation and other laws should be updated to ensure that nanosilver is fully assessed and safely regulated. Until then, the sale of consumer products containing nanosilver should be stopped, it said.

However, VCI said that nanosilver, along with other nanomaterials, was safely regulated under existing laws.

Also, the industry, in cooperation with authorities, was developing risk assessments for nanomaterial products, on the basis of legal requirements, said Gerd Romanowski, the head of VCI’s science, technology and environment portfolio.

Furthermore, VCI had issued several guidelines on the evaluation and handling of nanomaterials in the supply chain, he said.

“The chemical industry acts very responsibly in handling nanomaterials,” he said.

While discussing the safety of nanomaterials, it was important to bear in mind the benefits these materials offered, especially in terms of helping to protect the environment and preserve natural resources, he added.

In October, Germany’s federal environmental agency warned about growing risks of nanomaterials and technologies, and called for a legislative framework, including a registration system for products containing nanomaterials.

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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