European Parliament Committee Diverges from Commission on Nanotech

In a stunning move the European Parliamentâ''s Environment Committee has adopted the principle of â''no data, no marketâ'' regarding nanotechnology.

The committee has essentially embraced the ideas emanating from a report by Swedish Green Member of Parliament (MEP), Carl Schlyter, which additionally calls for products containing nanotechnology already on the market to be withdrawn until safety assessments are made.

Whether the Parliament Committee really wants to extend controls to pulling products off the shelves is yet to be clearly known, but in any case the Environment Committee has taken quite a different position from that of the Commission, which has said that nanomaterials are in principle covered by current legislation and regulations.

European NGOs are, of course, ecstatic over this perceived victory. That is certainly to be expected since they have done a good job at upending some new companies and new productsâ''taking on big, bad industry in their minds and winningâ''without really having to pay much of a personal price. The number of products enabled by nanomaterials is small enough that they wonâ''t really need to sacrifice some of their favorite products. Well done.

They might have second thoughts, however, if the definition of what a nanomaterial is gets out of their hands and someone starts including any GMR material as a nanomaterial. They may have to have their iPods taken from themâ''for their own safety, of course.

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