SCCP calls for further research on nanotechnology in cosmetics

By Louise Prance

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Nanotechnology

In order to further assess the safety of the nanotechnology in
cosmetic manufacturing, the EC has requested the Scientific
Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) to prepare a preliminary
opinion on the matter - concurrently launching a public
consultation.

The committee published its opinion on June 19, highlighting its concerns over the safety of the technology and whether they should be treated as new chemicals from a risk point of view, as well as an evaluation of skin absorption. The deadline for the submission of public opinion on the matter is 6 September, with the committee creating a document on the guidelines for interested parties, available on its website. The committee defined a nanoparticle as a particle with one or more dimensions at the nanoscale with at least one dimension <100nm. Likewise, a nanomaterial was defined as a material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the nanoscale, which could exhibit novel characteristics compared to the same material without nanoscale features. In order to give a full and extensive opinion on their safety, the committee split the nanoparticles into two groups: Labile nanoparticles, which disintegrate upon application to the skin and Insoluble particles. The group has stated that whereas conventional risk assessments tests based on mass metrics are acceptable for the Labile group, the insoluble particles are more complex, therefore may need more metrics. It is the insoluble particles that the committee has placed prime focus on, stating that repeated cosmetic application could lead to health risks. Danger to the secondary organs has been highlighted as a potential risk should they become systematically available. A strong emphasis was placed on the need for further research into information on hazard identification, exposure assessment, uptake (including also physiologically normal and physiologally compromised human skin), and the role of physico-chemical parameters of nanoparticles determining absorption and transport across membranes in the gut and lungs. The group continued to state that the role of physico-chemical parameters of nanoparticles in systemic circulation determining biokinetics and accumulation in secondary target organs, possible health effects (including susceptible individuals), and translocation of nanoparticles via the placenta to the foetus also needed assessment. More information can be found at http://ec.europa.eu​.

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