Industry blocking nanomaterials transparency initiatives: lawyer

18 June 2013 15:27  [Source: ICIS news]

HELSINKI (ICIS)--Initiatives by policymakers to introduce greater scrutiny to the nanomaterials market are being blocked by fierce opposition by manufacturers, a lawyer with the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL) said on Tuesday.

According to David Azoulay, a managing attorney with CIEL, nanomaterials are essential to many of the many international development goals, but at present a lot of information around certain products was not widely known, raising concerns about the adequacy of current risk management measures.

Speaking at the Helsinki Chemicals Forum, he said, “There are some attempts to identify and make this information available, at least to the regulators, and each of those initiatives – be they national initiatives or EU-wide initiatives – have been met with fierce opposition, mostly by the manufacturers of nanomaterials

Public consent is likely to be instrumental in the continued roll-out of new nanomaterials, which will be difficult to achieve if a lack of information about the sector leads to widespread opposition to the substances, he added.

“That is a serious issue, because if there is one thing we have learned from the past introduction of technology, is that we cannot do it without consumers’ consent,” Azoulay added.

However, the depiction of nanomaterials as an entirely new, undocumented industry is misleading, according to a vice president with Germany chemicals company Evonik.

Rudolf Weinand, vice president for the company’s product safety inorganic materials division, stated that 99% of the nanomaterial forms currently in circulation are well-known and have been manufactured and investigated for decades, and that the lack of transparency pointed out by Azoulay applies to only a small proportion of materials produced.

By: Tom Brown
+44 208 652 3214

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