, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 189–199 | Cite as

The European and Member States’ Approaches to Regulating Nanomaterials: Two Levels of Governance

  • Aida Maria Ponce Del CastilloEmail author
Original Paper


The nanotechnologies and nanomaterials sector is a huge and growing industry. The amount of legislation already in place and still to be produced in order to regulate it will be very substantial. What process is used to produce such regulation? The answer is that very diverse regulatory approaches are and will be used. The approach taken by the European Commission diverges from the one taken by the European Parliament. Moreover, at national level, Member States add their own contribution to the process. This article attempts to describe the landscape and various regulatory actions that have been undertaken by all these actors in the European Union. It first describes the role played by the European Commission and Parliament. It then looks at specific regulatory initiatives from a more sectoral perspective: Cosmetics, Food information, Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment and Biocides. The third part of the paper describes some major national initiatives, in particular those concerning the establishment of reporting systems for nanomaterials, mixtures, articles and consumer products containing them, as an example of how to improve the current governance in the EU and to prevent the risks to human health and the environment. The fourth part gives the perspective of the European Trade Union Confederation. Finally it presents some conclusions and policy recommendations, taking into consideration the diversity of regulatory approaches.


Nanomaterials Nanotechnologies European nanomaterials governance Nano-regulation Harmonised databases Reporting systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit Health and Safety, Working Conditions, European Trade Union InstituteBrusselsBelgium

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