European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)

Nanotetechnologies: health and safety at work remain a priority

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At the conference on ‘Working and living with nanotechnologies’, which focused on the results of the European NanoCAP project, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) presented its resolution adopted in June 2008. ETUC Confederal Secretary Joël Decaillon reiterated at the conference the confederation’s belief in the considerable application development potential of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the fields of health, the environment, medicinal products and renewable energy. He nonetheless repeated concerns over the potential risks to human health and the environment.

‘In the view of ETUC, health and safety at the workplace must be priorities and are to be implemented long the lines of the precautionary principle. In this way, we can achieve a socially responsible and acceptable development of nanotechnologies. We do not want to repeat the errors of asbestos and GMOs.’

With its call for the application of REACH, ETUC relies on the principle of reversal of the burden of proof and thus the manufacturer’s liability. Both workers and consumers need transparent information.

See also the June 2008 ETUC Resolution on nanotechnologies, as well as the Presentation (256 Kb PDF) by Joël Decaillon at the final NanoCap Conference in Brussels on 2 April 2009.

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