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Issue October 2017

Everything under control?

Regulating nanomaterials and other chemicals

Editorial


Robust but proportionate regulation

Foreword by Michael Sailer, CEO, Oeko-Institut

More than three decades have passed since the publication of Chemie im Haushalt, Rainer Griesshammer’s guide to chemicals in the home. It became an instant non-fiction bestseller. Compared with the 1980s and the time before that, we now live in a world with far fewer unregulated hazardous chemicals in the home and – more importantly, for it is a much larger field of application – in industry. This is due to more robust regulation, a frequent area of work for us here at the Oeko-Institut in recent decades.

However, this does not mean that we can rest on our laurels. With so many new substances and users, we must be meticulous in monitoring and assessing the potential risks to human health and the natural environment. As with any area of scientific discovery, there are still gaps in our knowledge, which makes it more difficult to predict future scenarios, as we must....

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Robust but proportionate regulation

In Focus


Under the radar

Regulating nanomaterials

The word “nanomaterials” evokes a wide range of associations: microscopically small; an exciting field of research; innovative functions. Nanomaterials can make products more lightweight and efficient, thus helping to save energy and resources. And yet despite all the research, we still do not know all there is to know about nano. There are critical gaps in our knowledge, especially as regards the possible long-term effects on human health and the environment. So there is every... more

Under the radar

Efficient substitution

Restricting hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment

Electrical and electronic equipment contain substances which pose a risk to human health and the environment but which, from a technical perspective, have long been regarded as essential components in the manufacture of products such as printed circuit boards (PCBs), compact fluorescent lamps and fluorescent tubes. Since 2006, the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive has limited the use of six of these substances: lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium... more

Efficient substitution

“We want to position sustainable chemistry as a key concept”

Interview with Dr Hans-Christian Stolzenberg (UBA)

In 2002, participants at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg made a commitment that by 2020, chemicals must be produced and used in all phases of their life cycle to minimise significant adverse effects on human health and the environment. Is this an achievable goal? In this interview with eco@work, Dr Hans-Christian Stolzenberg, Head of the International Chemicals Management Unit at the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) and an expert in... more

“We want to position sustainable chemistry as a key concept”

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