Home / Regulation / Are there laws on nano?

Are there laws
on nano?

There are no laws designed to deal exclusively with nano. By this, we mean that there is no one nano-law covering all the different uses of nanomaterials.

Does this mean nano escapes regulation?

No. Existing laws on uses of bulk-scale materials are thought to be broad enough to cover nanomaterials too, but there are some concerns about how effective these laws are in practice (see below).

Which laws apply?

Lots of existing laws apply to the products and processes enabled by nano. Since nano has such a diverse range of applications, we can apply laws from a number of different areas, such as food, cosmetics, chemicals, electrical equipment, and medicines. In each of these areas, several laws may apply.

It has been estimated that there are more than 60 major laws which extend to cover current uses of nano.

Many of these laws come from the European Union (EU) and apply in all Member States, including the UK.

Are existing laws enough?

Some people feel that most current applications of nano are, in principle, covered by existing laws. This means that nano-based products and processes will have to comply with the same legal requirements as similar products and processes involving larger-scale particles and materials.

Other people think, however, that these laws may not do a good enough job of protecting health and the environment against risks associated with certain types of nano. They think that existing laws should be analysed in further detail and perhaps changed.

Do these concerns relate to all nanomaterials?

Concerns about the protection given by existing laws relate primarily to engineered nanomaterials, rather than naturally occurring nanomaterials.

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