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September 18, 2008

EC Requests Voluntary Submission of Data on Nanoparticles in Cosmetics

Lynn L. Bergeson

On September 10, 2008, the European Commission (EC) requested companies to submit data “with regard to all substances used at nano-scale and the final [cosmetic] products in which they are used.” Citing the December 18, 2007, opinion of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products concerning the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetic products and the June 22, 2007, opinion of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly-Identified Health Risks regarding the appropriateness of the risk assessment methodology in assessing the risks of nanomaterials, the EC states that “there is an urgent need for closing the information gap and even the methodological gap with regard to nanomaterials in cosmetics.  Without these gaps being closed, it will, in the medium term, be hardly defendable for industry and authorities to assert that cosmetic products containing nanomaterials are safe.”

The EC seeks data concerning:

  • The chemical composition, the chemical impurities, the form and its flexibility, the agglomeration and coalescence behavior, the stability, the surface reactivity, the biodegradability, and the solubility of the nanoparticles;
  • The storage conditions of the particles prior to the manufacturing of the cosmetic product, and the molecules with which the particles come into contact;
  • The proportion of nanoparticles in the final product (in mass concentration, number concentration, and surface area);
  • The other components of the final product;
  • Modification of the particles occurring within the cosmetic product during or after the manufacturing process; and
  • The interaction between the various factors for each of the products on which data are provided.

Comments are due December 31, 2008.