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September 25, 2012

EC’s SCCS Scientific Opinion on Nano-Form Zinc Oxide Available for Comment

Lynn L. Bergeson

The European Commission’s (EC) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has posted an opinion on zinc oxide, nano-form. SCCS approved the opinion for adoption and it is now open for comment by applicants, national authorities, and other interested parties. SCCS considered whether zinc oxide in its nano-form is safe for use as a UV-filter with a concentration up to 25 percent in cosmetic products. SCCS concluded, on the basis of available evidence, that the use of zinc oxide nanoparticles with the indicated characteristics, at a concentration up to 25 percent as a UV-filter in sunscreens, “can be considered not to pose a risk of adverse effects in humans after dermal application.” SCCS notes that this does not apply to other applications that might lead to inhalation exposure to zinc oxide nanoparticles, such as sprayable products. SCCS states that the use of larger (non-nano) forms of zinc oxide as a UV-filter with a concentration up to 25 percent, as stated in its 2009 clarification, is safe and is not of any additional safety concern compared to the nano-forms assessed in the opinion. Regarding whether SCCS has any further scientific concern about the use of zinc oxide in cosmetic products, SCCS states: “In view of the lung inflammation induced by ZnO particles after inhalation exposure, the use of ZnO in cosmetic products which may result in inhalation is of concern.” SCCS also notes: “Any cosmetic products containing ZnO particles (nano or non-nano) with coatings that can promote dermal penetration will also be of concern.” Comments are due October 22, 2012.