The development of nanomaterials - defined as having at least one dimension of 100 nanometres or less – is a particularly exciting area of science and industry. Nanomaterials and nanotechnologies are expected to yield numerous technological advances, including in health care through new treatments and methods of drug delivery.

More than 300 European businesses are now involved in the production of substances at nanoscale and production and sales are soon expected to reach 10 million tonnes and more than EUR 450 billion respectively. The EU Regulation REACH requires manufacturers and importers to demonstrate that they have appropriately identified and assessed all the associated risks of any chemical substance manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne or more per year per company.

A relevant registration dossier must be submitted to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), including all information on physicochemical, toxicological and ecotoxicological properties, and the corresponding risk assessment based on a chemical safety assessment (CSA). The unique properties of nanomaterials that create opportunities for exciting new uses also create possibilities of unwanted health and environmental risks, for example excessive absorption of nanoparticles through the skin.

Furthermore, there is a lack of information on toxicological and ecotoxicological properties, dosimetry parameters or even standardised risk assessment methods for nanomaterials.



Date of the last update: 31/03/2016