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Cosmetics Europe Exclusive Report

Nano is important for the future but there’s still work to be done

By Andrew McDougall , 25-Apr-2012
Last updated on 25-Apr-2012 at 12:49 GMT

In the latest instalment of Cosmetics Design’s exclusive report from the Brussels headquarters of Cosmetics Europe, the personal care association told us that whilst nanotechnology is important in the industry’s future, there is still work to be done.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, president Fabio Franchina stated that sun care products are essential in order to protect the skin, but there are some barriers still to overcome.

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General director Bertil Heerink discusses nanotechnology

“The nano issue is still an issue, and we are fully aware that the nano will be important for the future,” he said.

One for the future

“Nanotechnologies are one of the most active, and probably in the future will be one of the most successful elements that can allow cosmetics to be absolutely effective.”

However, Franchina pointed out that despite the growth in application, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the potential risks of nanotechnology and that a major problem remains in finding a definition of what nano is.

“Starting from there, you can imagine how difficult it is – and that will be one of the main challenges for the future,” he said.

Progression in science

Also discussing the topic, director general Bertil Heerink remained upbeat that the progression in science will aid future definitions and safety regulation of nanotechnology.

“We also have the benefit of being a very densely regulated sector where all the permits to market are preceded by a very narrow and close scientific look at whether things are ok – and nanotechnology is definitely one of them,” he told CosmeticsDesign-Europe.com.

“We have a scientific committee to the European Commission, who deals with all these various ingredients and their methods, and that is sometimes a bit of a burden, but at the same time it also protects you from risks that you do not want to take.”

Definition is workable

Heerink explained that in the area of nanotechnology there is a general definition for all applications, provided recently by the EC, but there is a specific one for the application of cosmetics, which is slightly different; which he explains is workable, and covers not only Europe, but the world.

“There is of course, the question sometimes, also from the scientific committees, that we know a lot but we might not know a sufficient amount for the future – but that is nothing new – it happens with any new technology,” he added.

“Since we are an industry of personal care, we have to take care, and taking risks is not an option,” said Heerink, stating that on the subject of nanotechnology it is not wise to take these risks.

“Other sectors want to learn from how we [cosmetics] have tackled it – and that is something to be proud of, but not be complacent about.”

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