Ricardo provides technical support for the EU’s review on nanomaterials

Ricardo provides technical support for the EU’s review on nanomaterials
13 January 2016

Ricardo Energy & Environment, in partnership with the Technical University of Denmark and Milieu Consulting, is providing specialist technical insight to support the European Commission in reviewing the environmental impact of nanomaterials.

Drawing on technical, legal and policy experience at the forefront of nanotechnology regulation, Ricardo Energy & Environment is supporting the European Commission by developing inventories and classifications for nanomaterials and reviewing the extent to which associated environmental risks are captured by European policy. In collaboration with stakeholders across the nanotechnology arena, the team is helping the Commission to review the potential for existing regulation to safeguard the environment as part of its periodic policy assessment, last performed in 2012.

Nanomaterials are substances with dimensions that can be 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. Materials at this size demonstrate novel properties with applications across diverse areas of science and industry – from colloidal gold in targeted drug delivery through to carbon nanotubes for renewable energy capture. The European Commission concluded in 2012 that the regulations governing chemical releases into the environment, such as through industrial effluent or household waste water, are applicable to nanomaterials but contained certain gaps and challenges. The lack of experience in the actual application of environmental legislation to nanomaterials is a particular issue considering their complex behaviour.

By monitoring trends in the contemporary nanotechnology landscape, assessing potential environmental release routes and reviewing implementation experience, Ricardo Energy & Environment is providing valuable insight on material hazards and risks to help the European Commission further identify and overcome gaps in environmental regulation. The project team includes legal specialists and nanomaterials scientists, alongside experts in chemical risk and regulatory policy from the UK’s National Chemical Emergency Centre (NCEC), a subsidiary of Ricardo Energy & Environment. With a history of providing technical and legal expertise for technological development - including analysing the environmental impact of nanotechnology in sustainable tyre development - Ricardo is ideally placed to support the Commission’s timely review.

Ben Grebot, Ricardo Energy & Environment project director, said: “From cancer treatment and solar energy capture, through to personal care products and cosmetics, nanomaterials are having a transformative impact on the world. Developing appropriate regulations for these materials is an important step to supporting this burgeoning industry. We are delighted to be working with the European Commission and our expert partners from the Technical University of Denmark and Milieu Consulting to share our knowledge of this fast moving area. Effective legislation provides high levels of environmental protection, promotes sustainable growth and supports new industries to develop their green potential by providing cleaner solutions to societal challenges.”

Contributions to the study from nanomaterial manufacturers, distributors and users working or trading in the EU, as well as researchers in the field, are welcomed. For more information on how to be part of the study, contact the project manager Dr Mark Broomfield at: mark.broomfield@ricardo.com.

Find out more about how Ricardo Energy & Environment’s expertise in policy development, implementation and evaluation, technical advice and support has helped governments and organisations across the world address many of their most challenging regulatory issues at http://ee.ricardo.com/cms/

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