What about legislation on nanomaterials?
Nanomaterials are chemical substances to which the following legislation applies with respect to occupational health and safety:
- The Nationale Arbeidsomstandighedenwet (Arboportaal) is the Dutch translation of the European Chemical Agent Directive (CAD). The CAD captures the most important workplace regulations and directs that the employer maintains a healthy and safe environment at work. Risks and (intended) control measures must be described in the inventory and evaluation of risks (RI&E) and in an implementation plan (PVA). The requirements of the CAD are fulfilled automatically when the requirements of the Arbowet have been met.
- A number of Dutch laws are applicable to hazardous substances, in addition to the Arbowet/Arboportaal. For example, these laws relate to storage, labelling of packages and transport. You can find more information on ‘Arboportaal’.
- The European regulation CLP relates to grouping, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and preparations.
- The European regulation REACH relates to registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemical substances. Producers and importers of large quantities of substances (>1 ton annually) must perform risk evaluations and propose how to limit risks. The manufacturer/importer needs to demonstrate that all registered applications of a substance are safe for man and the environment.
Cosmetics and food
Nano-specific adaptations in legislation are already implemented with regard to cosmetics and food. The new European Cosmetics Directive obliges the notification of nano-ingredients in cosmetics. In addition, the presence of nanomaterials must be mentioned on the labels of cosmetics. From Decembre 13 2014 onwards, the new European legislation on food obliges to record on labels ‘nano’ behind those ingredients which contain nanomaterials.
Further rules and guidelines
The Arbobesluit is an elaboration of the Arbowet. It describes the rules to which employer and employee must conform in order to counteract occupational risks. The following obligations are applicable to all substances including nanomaterials. The employer must:
- Record synthetic nanomaterials in the inventory and evaluation of risks (RI&E).
- Prepare an implementation plan with measures to control, as much as possible, exposure to synthetic nanomaterials. The ALARA-principle is leading herein: As Low As Reasonably Achievable, meaning that exposure of man and the environment must be as low as reasonably achievable. According to the occupational hygiene strategy, exposure needs to be reduced first at the source, followed by personal protection as a last resort.
- Carry out measures as described in the implementation plan.
- Train and educate employees, working with nanomaterials, in risks and control measures.