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Scientific advice on safety of nanomaterials in cosmetics open for comments

Illustration of raised handsThe Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has published its preliminary opinion on the safety of nanomaterials in cosmetics. Give your comments by 2 November 2020.

Helsinki, 18 October 2020 – 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/potential accumulation in the body; 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 nanoparticles;
  • Other aspects relating to novel properties, activity or function, and specific concern arising from the type of application.

A detailed account of these aspects has been presented in the SCCS preliminary opinion. It also includes a tabulation of nanomaterials listed in the European Commission’s catalogue of nanomaterials in an order of priority according to their risk potential.

The SCCS has also reviewed previous inconclusive opinions on three nanomaterials to identify whether there is a scientific basis for concern over their safety to consumers’ health when used in cosmetic products:

  1. (Colloidal Silver (nano), Styrene/Acrylates copolymer (nano)
  2. Sodium styrene/Acrylates copolymer (nano) and Silica, Hydrated Silica
  3. Silica Surface Modified with Alkyl Silylates (nano form)

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 their opinion. There is now a chance to provide comments on the preliminary opinion before its finalisation.


The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) gives scientific advice through opinions to the European Commission on health and safety risks (chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products (e.g. cosmetic products and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products) and services (e.g. tattooing, artificial sun tanning).

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