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Study finds knowledge gaps in risk assessment of nano pigments

A new study, commissioned by the EU Observatory for Nanomaterials, found gaps in the current knowledge on the hazard and risk assessment of nano-sized pigments. The study identified 81 nano-sized pigments currently used in the EU market.

Helsinki, 7 September 2018 – The study was done to collect publicly available information on the identified nano-sized pigments that are on the EU market. The findings show that the risks of nanopigments cannot adequately be assessed due to missing information on exposure, the absence of reliable nano-specific toxicological data, and a general lack of public-domain data on their uses.

According to the study, available toxicological data is often inconsistent, and reported results often contradictory - with the exception of a limited number of well-tested substances where general conclusions can still be drawn. The upcoming revision of information requirements for nanomaterials registered under REACH will improve the availability of data also for nanopigments.

The report makes several recommendations for further work including an increased emphasis on exposure assessment and control as well as generating well-designed and realistic exposure scenarios on particular nanomaterials for easy access and for benchmarking different safety measures.

An integral part of the study was to establish an inventory of currently known nano-sized pigments used in consumer and professional products on the EU market.

To compile this inventory, a wide range of data sources were used. These included the REACH registration database, the Danish product register and publications by the Belgian and French national inventories.

77 substances were definitively identified as nano-sized pigments with an additional four filler pigments used to increase the volume and reduce the overall cost of the ink in which the pigment is used. The inventory contains 81 substances and is now available on the EUON website.