The new definition of nanomaterials adopted by the European Commission will leave products that pose nano-risks effectively unregulated and people and the environment at risk.

After many months of consultations the European Commission has released its definition of nanomaterials. The definition reflects intense industry lobbying and rejects scientific advice. It uses a threshold for nano-content – 50% of the number of particles in a sample – that is 333 times greater than that recommended by the Commission’s own Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR recommended 0.15%). It also entrenches 100nm as an upper limit for nanomaterials, despite SCENIHR warning that there is no scientific basis for this limit, and early toxicological studies finding nano-specific toxicity in particles larger than this.