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The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) considers that the European Commission’s decision to create a European observatory for nanomaterials rather than a register does not ensure the protection of workers against risks for their health and in no way contributes to the traceability of nanomaterials, any more than to the transparency and accountability of the industry.
In addition to the trade unions, a public consultation in 2014 showed that the Member States, NGOs and other actors were in favour of a register. Already in 2009, the Parliament demanded an inventory of the nanomaterials present in the European market. A decision of the Council in 2010 invited the Commission to establish a harmonized database for nanomaterials. In 2012, in a letter sent to the Commission, 11 Member States (Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Sweden) demanded that it propose legislation for registering nanomaterials.
“In spite of the opinions of the Parliament and the Council, the Commission opted, years later, for the far more lax solution of the observatory,” deplores the ETUC. This observatory will be established in the form of a website and taken charge of by the ECHA, as was announced by the DG Internal Market at a seminar that it held in Brussels on 25 April.
“Workers are entitled to know what they are handling and what they are exposed to”, said Esther Lynch, Confederal Secretary of the ETUC. And she added: “It would also be easier for industry if there were a single European register rather than several national registers as is the case at present.”
ETUC Resolution on nanotechnologies and nanomaterials 2008
Reply form 2010 for the public consultation