According to the European Commission, nanomaterials are usually considered to be materials with at least one external dimension that measures 100 nanometres (nm) or less or with internal structures measuring 100 nm or less. They may be in the form of particles, tubes, rods or fibres. Click here for more information on ultrafine TiO2.
Nanomaterials are regulated at the European level as with all forms of chemicals, under the REACH Regulation and the CLH, which sets up a framework to ensure the safe management of chemicals placed on the European market. This includes the submission of safety data by industry and where necessary regulatory measures to reduce any risks arising from the production and use of substances.
The most commonly used form of TiO2 is pigmentary, which is used in the vast majority of consumer applications and is not a nanomaterial. Due to its enhanced transparency and UV absorbing properties, nano-scale TiO2 is used for certain applications such as sunscreens where it provides additional protection against the sun’s rays. It is also used in certain combustion processes (boilers, power plants and diesel engine) as a catalyst, where it helps convert harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide into harmless water and nitrogen.
Industry is committed to managing any risks from its products as part of its commitment to product stewardship and in compliance with regulatory processes such as REACH, the European chemicals legislation. In addition, it has initiated and sponsored research into the safety of nanomaterials and nano-enabled products. Significant progress has been made in test methods, data collection and assessments to evaluate any potential risks of nanomaterials in common applications.
We believe that nanomaterials are similar to other chemicals/substances in that each substance should be assessed on its own merits. Evaluation should be on a case-by-case basis using existing regulation, such as REACH and the Classification and Labelling Regulation, and is sufficient to ensure the safety of workers, consumers and the environment.