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Headlines > Regulation & Safety

European Commission publishes guidance for the industry on nanomaterials

By Michelle Yeomans , 06-Jul-2012
Last updated on 09-Jul-2012 at 12:01 GMT

The European Commission has published a guide on the safety assessment of nanomaterials to help the industry comply with article 16 of Regulation (EC) No 1223/2009 on cosmetic products, which is to come into force in July of next year.

From January 2013, industry professionals will have to notify the Commission, through the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal, of all cosmetic products containing nanomaterials, six months prior to placing them on the market.

The document was drafted by the SCCS, an advisory body established to advise the Commission on issues associated with consumer safety.

Specific data relevant for risk assessment purposes must be provided which the Commission will submit to the SCCS, in case it has concerns. Thus a checklist of data has been included in the new document to aid the industry in this area.

The publication adds to the existing Notes of Guidance from SCCS which already provides generic instructions to the industry for the testing and safety evaluation of cosmetic ingredients. However, the new guidance applies only to nanomaterials.

Rapid advances

According to the EC, as rapid advances in the field of nanotechnology and the ever increasing scientific knowledge about the safety of nanomaterials continues, the present guide is likely to be updated regularly.

The European Commission Scientific Committees have produced a number of documents that provide guidance on aspects to be considered in the health risk assessment of manufactured nanomaterials.

However, experience with the assessment of nanomaterials is still limited. The on-going risk assessments by the European Commission SCCS on three specific nano-sized substances used as UV filters in cosmetics are the first such assessments in the EU and globally.

Meetings on nanotechnology

Last month, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) and co-ordinators of four European FP7 projects hosted a meeting to trigger discussion and networking amongst experts in various fields of nanotechnology.

Each year the two day conference identifies what is required from the scientific community for policy making as well as presenting the most up to date in regulatory issues.

According to the JRC office, new and increasing prospects offered by nanotechnology has raised concerns over their safety to human health and environment at all the stages of the life cycle (synthesis, processing, use, recycling and their disposal).

For the third year in a row presentations were based around risk assessment and LCA of nanomaterials in a regulatory context, while outlining the needs and challenges for policy making and regulation of nanotechnology based materials.

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