Download PDF
July 6, 2020

EUON Publishes Nanopinion on Polymer-Based Nanocomposites

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

On July 1, 2020, the European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) published a Nanopinion entitled “Polymer based nanocomposites – enabling innovation, resource efficiency and helping to fight climate change” by Dr. Sabine Lindner, Consumer and Environmental Affairs, PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V.  Dr. Lindner notes how the addition of nanoscale particles to plastic matrices can improve the properties of products such as plastic packaging for food.  According to Dr. Lindner, PlasticsEurope and the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) Food Contact Additives (FCA), the food additive sector group of CEFIC, collaborated with the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV) to examine whether nanoparticles can migrate from plastic packaging into the packaged foodstuff.  Three plastic nanocomposites containing nanoscale silver, titanium nitride, and laponite were investigated for their potential to release nanoparticulates under stress conditions into food simulants.  Dr. Lindner states:  “In a nutshell, the studies demonstrated, that nanoparticles which are completely encapsulated in the host polymer matrix do not have a potential to migrate into food and therefore consumers will not be exposed to nanoparticles from food contact polymers when those are completely embedded in polymer and the contact surface is not altered by mechanical surface stress during application.”

Dr. Lindner describes the work that PlasticsEurope is doing with different stakeholders, such as the International Nano Authorities Dialogue, and its participation on the advisory board of RiskGONE, a project aimed “at providing solid procedures for science-based risk governance of nanomaterials, based on a clear understanding of risks and risk management practices.”  According to Dr. Lindner, transferring knowledge about the safety of engineered nanomaterials is crucial “to implement a robust and reliable methodology for the risk assessment of engineered nanomaterials via decision-making tools that are applicable across different industrial sectors and facilitate risk communication to relevant stakeholders, including industry, regulators, insurance companies, civil society organisations and the general public.”