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The Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) has adopted a preliminary opinion on the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetic products. On June 19, the committee published its opinion on nanomaterials; however, it has concurrently launched a public consultation process that will close on Sep. 6, 2007.
According to the committee's preliminary opinion, a nanoparticle is a particle with one or more dimensions at the nanoscale (at least one dimension <100nm). In addition, the committee divides nanoparticles into two categories: labile nanoparticles and insoluble particles. Whereas conventional assessments may be sufficient for the labile group, the committee states that they may not be enough for insoluble particles such as Ti02, and quantum dots, where additional metrics may be needed.
The committee found that further information was needed in:
1) hazard identification
2) exposure assessment
3) uptake (including also physiologically normal and physiologically compromised human skin)
4) the role of physico-chemical parameters of nanoparticles determining absorption and transport across membranes in the gut and lungs
5) the role of physico-chemical parameters of nanoparticles in systemic circulation determining biokinetics and accumulation in secondary target organs
6) possible health effects (including susceptible individuals)
7) translocation of nanoparticles via the placenta to the fetus
The committee specifically emphasized the importance of uptake assessment in relation to nanoparticles. It noted that uptake is particularly important in relation to insoluble particles. Health consequences of the systemic availability of insoluble particles could include accumulation in secondary target organs. For more information, or to learn how to submit your opinion, visit http://ec.europa.eu.