The European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) announced on November 16, 2020, the results of a study on how citizens perceive nanomaterials and their potential risks to human health and the environment. According to EUON, the study found that general awareness about the nature, characteristics, and properties of nanomaterials is low. EUON notes that the level of awareness has increased compared to earlier surveys, however, and is expected to continue increasing in the future. EUON states that the results confirm that concerns often correlate with a lack of awareness of nanomaterials. The majority of respondents (87%) indicated that they want to know if a product contains nanomaterials and that it would be “particularly important” for this information to be included on product labels for food and food-related products, medicines, cosmetics, clothing and textiles, toys, and detergents or household products.
EUON states that the “key recommendation” is “to increase European citizens’ awareness of nanomaterials, including their benefits and risks, to ensure the public can make informed choices.” This can be done by sharing information and communicating the benefits and safety aspects of nanomaterials. The study also recommends expanding the survey from Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, France, and Poland to all 27 EU member states. It outlines a need for further research to determine the most appropriate type of product labeling and whether existing labeling requirements would need to be revised.