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Nano & Cosmetics

Lipstick - Copyright JRC, IHCP 2010Nanomaterials are now finding their way into everyday cosmetic products. Many sunscreens, for example, have active ultra violet (UV) filters which utilise insoluble nanoparticles of titanium dioxide. When used at the nanoscale level, this mineral can change its properties and become invisible but still effectively absorb UV radiation.
Given the wide range of products now benefiting from the use of nanomaterials, it is important to have suitable methods available for detecting and quantifying nanoparticles, especially in relation to their concentration and their type.
This is one of the activities of the Institute for Health and Consumer Protection (IHCP) which is in the process of developing methods to determine the chemical composition, morphology, particle size and concentration of nanomaterials used in such products.
It also provides commercially relevant, selected test nanomaterials for study by third parties in Europe and worldwide. The overriding aim is to develop standardised and internationally accepted analytical protocols.

Safety of insoluble nanoparticles
Under the EU’s Cosmetics Directive, the manufacturer or importer of a cosmetic product has to assess the safety of the product prior to placing it on the market and document this.  In view of the safety implications of insoluble nanoparticles as cosmetic ingredients, the Commission has mandated its independent risk-assessment bodies to assess whether and how existing methodologies are suitable.

Certain groups of substances, including UV-filters, have to be approved by the European Commission prior to their use in cosmetic products placed on the EU-market.

Up until now, the Commission has permitted one mineral UV-filter which is usually used in its nanoscale form in sunscreen products (titanium dioxide). Another mineral in its nanoscale form has not been permitted. While zinc oxide in its standard form may be safe to use as a UV filter, the EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Products, takes the view that the safety of zinc oxide in its nanoparticle form cannot be demonstrated.

Multilateral cooperation
The European Commission sees in particular a need to better understand whether and how insoluble nanoparticles are used in applications other than UV-filters. To this end, the Commission, together with the regulatory authorities from the U.S., Canada and Japan, agreed with the respective industry associations to set up an inventory of current applications of nanotechnology in cosmetic products. Results of this work will be assessed by the four authorities.

 

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News: Highlights
New JRC report discusses labelling and reporting schemes for nanomaterials in consumer products in the EU
New JRC report discusses labelling and reporting schemes for nanomaterials in consumer products in the EU - May 19, 2014

JRC experts provide an overview on how EU legislation addresses nanomaterials, and recapitulate issues relevant for the on-going discussion on transparency and requests for more information regarding the use of nanomaterials in consumer products

Nanotechnology
Nanoparticle radiolabelling: Joint Research Centre contributes to QualityNano project providing "transnational access" to MC40 Cyclotron
Nanoparticle radiolabelling: Joint Research Centre contributes to QualityNano project providing "transnational access" to MC40 Cyclotron - Jun 06, 2013

Studies on plant uptake with radioactive nanoparticles

Nanoparticles
JRC scientists contribute to 'Concern-driven integrated approaches to nanomaterial testing and assessment'
JRC scientists contribute to 'Concern-driven integrated approaches to nanomaterial testing and assessment' - Jun 04, 2013

New publication aims at identifying key areas for further research on risk assessment methodologies ...

Nanotechnology
JRC scientists contribute to the synthesis of radiolabelled gold nanoparticle aerosols for rodent inhalation and translocation studies
JRC scientists contribute to the synthesis of radiolabelled gold nanoparticle aerosols for rodent inhalation and translocation studies - Mar 28, 2013

The paper deals with the production of radiolabelled gold nanoparticle aerosols by spark ignition ...

Nanotechnology
JRC scientists introduce "representative test materials"
JRC scientists introduce "representative test materials" - Mar 21, 2013

The term became necessary for establishing temporary benchmarks for measurements of new material ...

Nanomaterials
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News: Publications
Updated list of materials in the JRC Nanomaterials Repository - Oct 27, 2011
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News: Multimedia
Watch our videoclip "Small materials, big impact" - Oct 17, 2011
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Deliverables: Reports
JRC report " Requirements on measurements for the implementation of the European Commission definition of the term 'nanomaterial'" - Sep 17, 2012
Joint JRC-EASAC Report "Impact of engineered nanomaterials on health: considerations for benefit-risk assessment" - Oct 18, 2011
Summary Report - Joint JRC Nano Event and 2nd ENPRA Stakeholders Workshop 2011 - Jan 10, 2011
JRC Reference Report: 'Considerations on a definition of nanomaterial for regulatory purposes' - Jul 23, 2010
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Related Areas
Nanotechnology
Watch our video "Small materials, big impact"
 

The video, issued in October 2011, illustrates JRC activities in support to safety assessment of nanomaterials in consumer products.

Watch it on You Tube, JRC channel