The EU Directorate-General for the Environment (commonly referred to as DG Environment) is one of the more than 40 Directorates-General and services that make up the European Commission. The objective of the Directorate-General is to protect, preserve and improve the environment for present and future generations. To achieve this it proposes policies that ensure a high level of environmental protection in the European Union and that preserve the quality of life of EU citizens.
In 2011, as part of the second review of regulatory aspects of nanomaterials, DG Environment commissioned a "Review of Environmental Legislation for the Regulatory Control of Nanomaterials" which was conducted by Milieu. The objective of the study was to review environmental legislation for waste, water and other relevant acts as regards their legal coverage of nanomaterials and, where possible, implementation on the ground. The second objective was to identify and describe legislative and implementation gaps in environmental legislation, including details on whether gaps relate to a lack of legal coverage, limitations in technical capacities or dependences on other legislation. In terms of the level of coverage afforded to nanomaterials, the report concludes that all the legislation reviewed could be considered to address nanomaterials in principle. However, several pieces of legislation were found to have some limitations in the coverage of nanomaterials, resulting generally from a lack of knowledge and technical capacity (in particular monitoring and detection techniques) and in some cases from the inapplicability of existing legal mechanisms (such as concentration thresholds to control the presence of pollutants). Further details are provided in the full report, which can be downloaded here [pdf].