Protecting Consumers or Failing Them? The Regulation of Nanotechnologies in the EU
European Journal of Consumer Law, Vol. 1, pp. 85-113, 2011
32 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2011 Last revised: 22 Oct 2013
Date Written: August 18, 2011
Growing consumer demand for new and/or improved products has encouraged governments and industry to experiment with innovative technologies, such as nanotechnologies, across the manufacturing chain. With nanotechnologies destined to impact on every aspect of society, there is increasing concern that they may also have a negative impact on human health and the environment. In light of this discourse this paper examines the European Union’s regulatory frameworks for cosmetics, medical applications and food contact materials in order to determine their suitability for regulating nanotechnology-based products and their associated (potential) risks. While strengths of these current regimes are noted, a number of important gaps within each framework are identified. Initial steps for addressing these gaps which take into consideration both the need to protect against potential risks, and the broader consumer interests associated with the development of the technologies, are outlined.
Keywords: nanotechnology, regulation, consumer, cosmetics, foods, medicine, nanoscience
JEL Classification: K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation