Nano risk register not necessary, says BASF


German chemicals giant BASF will not support calls for registration or regulation of nanomaterials outside of the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (Reach) programme, representatives said at a press event last week. Belgium and France have already set up registers, and there are calls for similar measures in other European countries.

Andreas Kreimeyer, BASF’s executive director of research, explained that such measures would be counterproductive. Nanomaterials are covered under Reach, and the broad definition applied by the EU means that almost anything in a powder or emulsion form will contain nanoparticles as part of its normal size distribution. Labelling these things generically as ‘nanomaterials’ risks attracting unjustified stigma and creating public fear over the term, as has happened with genetically modified organisms and plant biotechnology, he suggested. The company is committed to transparency and engaging early in dialogue with the public and politicians, but extra regulation is unnecessary

Robert Landsiedel, BASF’s head of short-term toxicology, said that the hazard posed by a substance is intrinsic to its chemistry. However, he added that nanomaterials do require additional toxicity testing to determine whether their small size and large surface area affect the risk of exposure to that hazard, for example by inhalation or by making materials more soluble.

Landsiedel described BASF’s extensive involvement in inhalation and toxicity testing for all of its products, saying that the company has compiled the biggest database of inhalation studies worldwide. 


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