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September 10, 2018

EUON Study Finds Knowledge Gaps Exist in Risk Assessment of Nano-Sized Pigments

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) announced on September 7, 2018, that a new study found gaps in the current knowledge on the hazard and risk assessment of nano-sized pigments.  The study, commissioned by EUON, identified 81 nano-sized pigments currently used in the EU market.  The study was done to collect publicly available information on the identified nano-sized pigments that are on the EU market.  EUON states that the findings “show that the risks of nanopigments cannot adequately be assessed due to missing information on exposure, the absence of reliable nano-specific toxicological data, and a general lack of public-domain data on their uses.”  EUON states that the study found that the available toxicological data are often inconsistent, and that the reported results are often contradictory — “with the exception of a limited number of well-tested substances where general conclusions can still be drawn.”  The study established an inventory of currently known nano-sized pigments used in consumer and professional products on the EU market.  Seventy-seven substances were definitively identified as nano-sized pigments, and an additional four substances were identified as filler pigments used to increase the volume and reduce the overall cost of the ink in which the pigment is used.  The study provides recommendations for further work, including an increased emphasis on exposure assessment and control, as well as “generating well-designed and realistic exposure scenarios on particular nanomaterials for easy access and for benchmarking different safety measures.”