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Making sure that nano paints and coatings are safe

Manufacturers and importers of nano paints and coatings will have to comply with certain legal requirements before placing those products on the market. First, they will have to ensure they comply with requirements of European chemicals law, called the REACH Regulation.

The specific requirements depend on the quantity and hazardousness of the chemicals in question. At the very least, manufacturers and importers must register chemicals produced or imported in quantities of more than one tonne per year. For more information, see the REACH Regulation page.

Secondly, manufacturers are under a duty to ensure that the products they put on the market are safe to use. This requirement comes from the General Product (Safety) Regulations 2005.

Are the laws enough?

None of the laws mentioned above deals specifically with nano. However, these laws are so wide that they cover chemicals and consumer products with or without nano.

One of the biggest concern is that the methods currently used to test the safety of nanomaterials may be unsuitable, making it difficult for manufacturers to decide whether a particular nano-based product is safe before being placed on the market.

A lot of work is being done to develop nano-specific testing methods, which will help to resolve this problem. For further information, see the Introduction to Law and Nano page.

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