Experts within the International Cooperation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR) have stated that ‘the existing risk assessment paradigm (based on exposure assessment, hazard identification and hazard characterization followed by risk characterization), in use for conventional chemicals, is also applicable to nanomaterials’. This is contained in the report Safety Approaches to Nanomaterials in Cosmetics, which was prepared by a Working Group for presentation at the seventh annual meeting of the body in July 2013 in Japan.
The report also states that toxicological methods used for conventional materials are applicable to nanomaterials, though ‘some methods may need adaptations’. Detailed characterisation is considered to be crucial, and ‘where a given nanomaterial in a cosmetic product is well-characterized, both from a qualitative and quantitative point of view, and an adequate toxicological dataset is available, there should not be a reason to consider that risk characterization of the nanomaterial-containing product is associated with an intrinsically higher uncertainty than that containing conventional ingredients’.
Nevertheless the WG feels that ‘the use of a read-across or categorization approach […] may not be feasible for safety assessment’ due to a lack of ‘scientific understanding of the possible changes in properties, behaviour, and effects of nanomaterials compared to conventional forms’. The use of mass-based dose metric is also queried, with the group deciding that other metrics should be considered.
Also noted by the authors is that the EU Cosmetics Regulation complicates the safety assessment of new nano-enhanced cosmetics. This is because ‘toxicological testing is carried out mainly in animals’ and the Regulation prohibits this, and although it acknowledges that there are validated alternative methods, none have been validated for nanomaterials.