The SCCS has published a final paper on their “Scientific advice on the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetics” as a response to a mandate from the Commission who had previously expressed concerns regarding the intrinsic properties of nanomaterials, as a category, in light of their nano-scale dimension, bio-persistence and insolubility.

Through a review of the available information and expert judgment, the SCCS has identified certain aspects of  nanomaterials  that  constitute  a  basis  for  concern  over  safety  to consumers’ health when used in cosmetic products. These include:

Physicochemical  aspects  relating  to:  very  small  dimensions  of  the  constituent particles; solubility/persistence; chemical nature and toxicity of the nanomaterial; physical/morphological features of the constituent particles; surface chemistry and surface characteristics (surface modifications/coatings);

Exposure  aspects  relating  to: the  frequency and the  amounts used, whether the number/type of consumer product(s)used is relatively high; and whether there is a potential  for systemic  exposure of  the  consumer  to  nanoparticle sand potential accumulation in the body;

Other  aspects  relating  to:  novel  properties,  activity  or  function,  and  specific concern arising from the type of application. A  detailed  account  of  these  aspects  is presented here.  The nanomaterials listed  in the  EC  catalogue  of  nanomaterials  of  2019  have  been  tabulated in an order of priority according to risk potential in Annex 1 of the previously mentioned Advice document.

For the nanomaterials with inconclusive SCCS opinions, such as [Colloidal Silver (nano) (SCCS/1596/18), Styrene/Acrylates copolymer (nano) + Sodium styrene/Acrylates copolymer (nano) (SCCS/1595/18) and Silica, Hydrated Silica, and Silica Surface Modified with Alkyl Silylates (nano form) (SCCS/1545/15)], the SCCS is requested to assess if a potential risk can be identified according to Article 16(6) Reg.1223/2009. Such assessment, regardless of the data previously submitted by the respective applicants, should be based on the available scientific literature and SCCS’ expert judgement (i.e. systemic or local availability; harmful effects specifically related to nano-form; surface catalysed reactions in nano-form, absorption (or potential absorption) from dermal and inhalation routes, potential of nano-form to deliver ionic forms, etc.).*

The SCCS has reviewed previous inconclusive opinions on three nanomaterials (SCCS/1596/18; SCCS/1595/18 and SCCS/1545/15), in conjunction with any further relevant information available in published literature to identify whether there is a scientific basis for concern over their safety to consumers’ health when used in cosmetic products. The SCCS has identified certain aspects relating to each of the nanomaterials that raise a safety concern. These have been detailed in three separate annexes (2, 3 and 4) to the aforementioned Advice.

For more information.