EC Begins Public Consultation On Discussion Paper Addressing The New Challenges For Risk Assessment

On October 19, 2012, the European Comission (EC) began a public consultation on a preliminary opinion entitled Addressing the New Challenges for Risk Assessment. The Inter-Committee Coordination Group of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR), Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS), and Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) established a joint working group to review risk assessment procedures and new challenges for risk assessment, taking into account both fundamental and practical considerations, and to provide a scientific discussion paper on the issue. According to the preliminary opinion, a number of additional factors, including the need to assess more complex products and processes, e.g., products of nanotechnologies, make a thorough examination of current and potential future methods particularly timely. The preliminary opinion states that research is needed for developing models suitable for predicting the fate of nanomaterials.  Fully new approaches need to be developed, conceptually different from the traditional molecular-based models. The preliminary opinion states that SCENIHR, SCCS, and SCHER “are aware that the most of the proposals described in this discussion paper are not realistically suitable for amending, in the short term, risk assessment procedures for regulatory purposes. However, this discussion paper highlights needs and priorities for research in order to get the objective of higher precision, accuracy and transparency in risk assessment for protecting human and environmental health."  Comments are due November 30, 2012

EC's SCCS Scientific Opinion on Nano-Form Zinc Oxide Available for Comment

The European Commission’s (EC) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) has posted an opinion on zinc oxide, nano-form. SCCS approved the opinion for adoption and it is now open for comment by applicants, national authorities, and other interested parties. SCCS considered whether zinc oxide in its nano-form is safe for use as a UV-filter with a concentration up to 25 percent in cosmetic products. SCCS concluded, on the basis of available evidence, that the use of zinc oxide nanoparticles with the indicated characteristics, at a concentration up to 25 percent as a UV-filter in sunscreens, “can be considered not to pose a risk of adverse effects in humans after dermal application.” SCCS notes that this does not apply to other applications that might lead to inhalation exposure to zinc oxide nanoparticles, such as sprayable products. SCCS states that the use of larger (non-nano) forms of zinc oxide as a UV-filter with a concentration up to 25 percent, as stated in its 2009 clarification, is safe and is not of any additional safety concern compared to the nano-forms assessed in the opinion. Regarding whether SCCS has any further scientific concern about the use of zinc oxide in cosmetic products, SCCS states: “In view of the lung inflammation induced by ZnO particles after inhalation exposure, the use of ZnO in cosmetic products which may result in inhalation is of concern.” SCCS also notes: “Any cosmetic products containing ZnO particles (nano or non-nano) with coatings that can promote dermal penetration will also be of concern.” Comments are due October 22, 2012.

SCCS Calls for Experts on the Safety Assessment of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products

On August 31, 2012, the European Commission’s (EC) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) issued a call for experts on the safety assessment of nanomaterials in cosmetic products. Under Article 16 of the Cosmetic Regulation EC No 1223/2009, any cosmetic product containing nanomaterials must be notified to the EC six months prior to being placed on the market. In case of concern, the EC will request SCCS to provide an opinion. According to the EC website, to meet the expected demand for safety assessments, the Commission Health and Consumers Directorate General intends to identify relevant experts who will assist the work of the SCCS. The Working Group is looking for experts with knowledge in relation to nanomaterials, particularly those used in cosmetic products, in the following areas:

  • Characterization;
  • Chemistry;
  • Systemic toxicity;
  • Genotoxicity;
  • Human exposure (including inhalation);
  • In vitro and alternative methods; and
  • Risk assessment for human health.

The deadline for submission for the call for experts is October 15, 2012.

EC Scientific Committee Releases Guidance on Safety Assessment of Nanomaterials in Cosmetics

On July 4, 2012, the European Commission (EC) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) posted its Guidance on the safety assessment of nanomaterials in cosmetics. The EC requested the SCCS develop guidance on the elements that would be required in a manufactured nanomaterial safety dossier. The SCCS states that the Guidance is intended to provide information to help compliance with the requirements for the safety assessment of nanomaterials intended for use in cosmetic products.  The Guidance describes the need for special considerations in relation to the safety of nanomaterials, in view of the possible distinct properties, interactions, and/or effects that may differ from the conventional form of the same materials.  The Guidance includes the main elements of risk assessment of nanomaterials in relation to possible use as cosmetic ingredients, i.e., general safety considerations, material characterization, exposure assessment, hazard identification and dose-response characterization, and risk assessment. The Guidance notes that the Cosmetics Regulation No 1223/2009 defines nanomaterial as “an insoluble or biopersistent and intentionally manufactured material with one or more external dimensions, or an internal structure, on the scale from 1 to 100 nm,” and that this definition could be revised in light of the EC’s October 2011 Recommendation on the  definition of a nanomaterial. According to the Guidance, if the Cosmetics Regulation definition were aligned to the Recommendation, it would provide further information on whether a material falls under the definition of a nanomaterial.

EC Requests Guidance on Safety Assessment of Nanomaterials in Cosmetics

The European Commission (EC) has asked the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) to prepare a guidance document on the safety assessment of nanomaterials in cosmetics. In its request for guidance, the EC notes that a number of documents provide general guidance on the health risk assessment of manufactured nanomaterials, but experience with the assessment of specific substances is limited. The guidance, which is due February 2012, should address the essential elements that would be required in a manufactured nanomaterial safety dossier (i.e., physicochemical characterization, toxicological evaluation, exposure assessment). According to the EC, the guidance will facilitate the submission of safety dossiers at present, as well as assist in the implementation of the provisions of Article 16 of the Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009/, “which will impose strict conditions and timelines for the notification and the assessment of cosmetic products containing nanomaterials on the responsible persons and the SCCS respectively, starting on January 2013.”

The EC specifically requests guidance on:

  1. The essential elements that must form part of safety dossiers for the assessment of nanomaterials in cosmetic products, based on the data requirements for the pre-market notification listed in Article 16 of Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009, i.e. taking into account points 3a to 3f of Article 16 (identification of the nanomaterial, specification, quantity, toxicological profile, safety data, and exposure).
  2. The possibility to develop criteria and conditions that would allow the safety assessment of nanomaterials on a category-based approach rather than on a case-by-case basis.
  3. The suitability of alternative methods already validated for the assessment of conventional chemical substances for the assessment of nanomaterials in light of the current (as of 2009) ban on animal testing in the European Union.
  4. The set of attributes unique to manufactured nanomaterials that will need to be addressed by newly developed and/or newly validated alternative methods for the testing of toxicological end points for which there will be a ban on the testing on animals after March 2013.


EC Begins Public Consultation to Prepare for Scientific Hearing on Nanotechnology

The European Commission (EC) will hold a scientific hearing on nanotechnology on September 10, 2009. The hearing will focus on the scientific aspects of the issues covered in the nanotechnology opinions issued by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) and the Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) (which is now replaced by the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)). To prepare for the hearing, the EC is launching a public consultation relating to the three main objectives to be addressed:

  • Identification of any possible topics which have not been covered in the opinions from the relevant European Union (EU) risk assessment committees and bodies;
  • Identification of what are -- according to current scientific knowledge -- the main potential risks that could emerge from the use of nanomaterials in the future; and
  • Identification of the issues to be discussed at the hearing, including provision of background information and comments on those issues.

The outcome of the consultation will be presented at the scientific hearing.  Comments are due June 19, 2009.