The July 19, 2018, issue of the European Commission’s (EC) Health-EU Newsletter includes an editorial entitled “The only concern to have about sunscreen is … did you remember to put it on?” written by Qasim Chaudhry, Chair of the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) and Ulrike Bernauer, Chair of the SCCS Working Group on Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products. According to the editorial, nanomaterials as cosmetic ingredients serve various functions, including as ultraviolet (UV)-filters (such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), as pigments (e.g., carbon black), or as an antimicrobial agent. SCCS published an opinion in 2013 stating that the use of nano-titanium dioxide up to a concentration of 25 percent as a UV-filter in dermally applied sunscreen products was safe to use on healthy, intact, or sunburned skin (SCCS/1516/13). The editorial notes that when a nanomaterial surface is modified with other ingredients, however, it can lead to a change in the material characteristics and as a result numerous variants of a nanomaterial may be formed. In the case of nano-titanium dioxide used in sunscreens, SCCS concluded that such variants resulting from surface modification can also be considered safe. SCCS recently published another opinion (SCCS/1580/16) that assesses whether nano-titanium dioxide coated with other materials could be considered safe for the use as a UV-filter in dermally-applied cosmetic products. SCCS concluded that the use of titanium dioxide nanomaterials coated with specified amounts of three other coating materials could also be considered safe for use in cosmetic products intended for application on healthy, intact, or sunburned skin. The editorial states that this conclusion “is mainly based on dermal penetration studies that showed that these nanomaterials did not permeate the skin and enter the body.” According to the editorial, SCCS keeps opinions “under constant review as new scientific evidence becomes available.” SCCS “is currently revising, in fact, the Guidance on the Safety Assessment of Nanomaterials in cosmetics (SCCS/1484/12) to take account of the scientific progress in the field of nanotechnology and new available testing methods.” The editorial concludes that consumers can “rest assured” that any nanomaterials in cosmetics in Europe have already gone through “the most stringent safety assessment in the world.”
On July 17, 2018, the European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) announced the availability of a study that it commissioned, Critical review of the relevance and reliability of data sources, methods, parameters and determining factors to produce market studies on manufactured nanomaterials on the EU market. The study presents the results of a critical review of the relevance and reliability of data sources, methods, parameters, and determining factors to produce market studies on manufactured nanomaterials on the EU market. According to EUON, based on a review of a number of existing market studies and further data sources, the study identified a set of basic parameters for producing reliable market studies on nanomaterials. The study also determined additional parameters for comprehensive studies that take into account more variables and interactions. EUON states that the parameters identified as providing a reliable basis for future market studies include:
- Market analysis by segmentation, such as by geographical region, application, end use, or nanomaterial type;
- Market forecasts and compound annual growth rate;
- Market share by region, country, or company;
- Market trends, such as consumption and demand; and
- Competitive scenarios and product portfolios of key vendors.
The researchers searched for data sources from 2011 to the present using publicly available online search tools, as well as the websites of relevant public authorities such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the European Commission (EC), and EU Member States. The report provides a list of the most relevant market studies and data sources. Researchers did not consider market studies conducted before 2011, as they preceded the EC’s recommendation on the definition of nanomaterials and their scope may not correspond to the current EU definition of a nanomaterial.
On July 9, 2018, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) published a one-page document on its Nanotechnology Research Center (NTRC), which conducts research to understand the potential effects on human health of exposure to engineered nanomaterials and develops methods to control or eliminate exposures. NTRC’s accomplishments include:
- Publishing 101 journal articles in the peer-reviewed scientific literature during 2017;
- Publishing a new chapter in the NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), 5th Ed. on the use of electron microscopy to analyze workplace air samples for carbon nanotubes/fibers;
- Publishing one of the first papers to look at toxicity along the lifecycle of a nanomaterial to provide context to potential health effects;
- Expanding research in additive manufacturing and publishing laboratory and field study results that characterize 3D printer emissions;
- Characterizing 22 commercial spray products claiming nano or colloidal silver as the active ingredient and finding a high degree of variability between claimed and measured values;
- Publishing a series of three nanomaterial handling recommendations, “Workplace Design Solutions”; and
- Publishing a workplace poster, “Controlling Health Hazards When Working with Nanomaterials: Questions to Ask Before You Start.”
NTRC’s next steps include:
- Publishing “Current Intelligence Bulletin: Health Effects from Occupational Exposure to Silver Nanomaterials”;
- Evaluating biomarkers, cardiovascular toxicity, and pulmonary exposure to nanoclays and boron nitride nanotubes; and
- Completing peer and stakeholder review of the draft “Current Intelligence Bulletin: Approaches to Developing Occupational Exposure Limits or Bands for Engineered Nanomaterials.”
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published a July 4, 2018, report entitled Investigating the Different Types of Risk Assessments of Manufactured Nanomaterials: Identifying Tools Available for Risk Management Measures and Uncertainties Driving Nano-Specific Data Needs. The report presents the findings from a survey conducted in 2016 that aimed at investigating the different types of risk assessment. The survey was conducted to gather the following information concerning risk assessments in different member countries:
- Different types of risk assessment used by jurisdictions, such as:
- Screening (e., risk and hazard prioritization) level versus a more detailed risk assessment;
- Level of detail in the assessment; and
- Jurisdictions that emphasize hazard more than risk/exposure;
- Levels of uncertainties/assumptions used in these risk assessments;
- Risk management measures and other outcomes of the assessment; and
- Risk assessment process(es) used when evaluating manufactured nanomaterials, including uncertainties, data requirements, and characterization/identification.
OECD states that the outcome of the project is an increased understanding of the details and scope of different regulatory risk assessments for manufactured nanomaterials by comparing and contrasting the conditions, assumptions, and levels of uncertainties of approaches used in different jurisdictions. Best practices could be identified that could be adopted by other countries. A majority of survey participants identified the following recommendations:
- There is further need for validated exposure/release scenarios and assessment for nanomaterials;
- The utility of specific physical-chemical properties to predict environmental fate and hazard must be validated to agree to a set of required characterization parameters, which will likely be specific to the type of nanomaterial being assessed;
- It is essential to improve the ability to use read-across/grouping/screening tests to assess nanomaterials; and
- There needs to be continued development of validated test guidelines specific to nanomaterials.
The NanoSafety Cluster announced that its projects NanoReg2 and Gracious, which focus on grouping, have come together with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Working Party for Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) to host a two-day conference in Paris on September 12-13, 2018. The “Scientific workshop on Grouping of Nanomaterials” will immediately follow the September 11, 2018, WPMN meeting on physico-chemical parameters framework for the risk assessment of nanomaterials, which will bring together international experts to review the outcomes of two joint projects on physico-chemical properties of nanomaterials and their measurement. According to the NanoSafety Cluster, the NanoReg2 and Gracious workshop will build upon the OECD meeting, “with synergies between the grouping approaches taken by both projects and the physico-chemical parameters and their measurement and reporting that will be covered as part of the OECD meeting.” Session topics will include:
- Grouping of nanomaterials: Principles, history, and context of grouping activities;
- Over-arching grouping schemes;
- Grouping in practice: Connecting to test methods and strategies; and
- Development of grouping recommendations and next steps.
The NanoSafety Cluster states that workshop outcomes will include recommendations on nanomaterials grouping that can support global regulations and standards development. The workshop invites participation from stakeholders experienced in nanomaterials grouping and physico-chemical and hazard assessment. Stakeholders from industry and regulatory backgrounds are especially welcome. Participation in the workshop will be free, with delegates covering their own travel and subsistence costs. Places are limited and potential participants are required to provide a short summary of their relevant expertise to allow the organizers to ensure representation from a diverse range of stakeholders.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a July 4, 2018, press release announcing the availability of new guidance on how to assess the safety of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications. The guidance covers novel foods, food contact materials, food and feed additives, and pesticides, taking into account new developments that have taken place since publication of the previous guidance in 2011. Potential future developments suggested in the scientific literature include nanoencapsulated delivery systems and nanocomposites in applications such as novel foods, food/feed additives, biocides, pesticides, and food contact materials. Therefore, EFSA states, the guidance has taken account of relevant new scientific studies that provide more insights to physicochemical properties, exposure assessment, and hazard characterization of nanomaterials. It specifically elaborates on the physicochemical characterization of nanomaterials in terms of how to establish whether a material is a nanomaterial, the key parameters that should be measured, the methods and techniques that can be used for characterization of nanomaterials, and their determination in complex matrices. The guidance also details the aspects relating to exposure assessment and hazard identification and characterization. In particular, the guidance discusses nanospecific considerations relating to in vivo/in vitro toxicological studies, and outlines a tiered framework for toxicological testing. It describes in vitro degradation, toxicokinetics, and genotoxicity, as well as general issues relating to testing of nanomaterials. Depending on the initial tier results, EFSA states that studies may be needed to investigate reproductive and developmental toxicity, immunotoxicity, allergenicity, neurotoxicity, effects on gut microbiome, and endocrine activity. The guidance also discusses the possible use of read-across to fill data gaps, as well as the potential use of integrated testing strategies and the knowledge of modes/mechanisms. The guidance proposes approaches to risk characterization and uncertainty analysis, and provides recommendations for further research in this area. EFSA notes that the guidance is intended for all interested parties — in particular risk assessors, risk managers, and applicants. According to EFSA, the guidance will now enter a pilot phase, with a final guidance envisioned by the end of 2019. EFSA will develop a second guidance in 2019 focusing on the environmental risk assessment of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications in the food and feed chain.
The European Commission (EC) announced on June 15, 2018, that researchers from the European Union (EU)-funded NANOPACK project found a solution for extending food shelf-life by using smart antimicrobial surfaces applied to active food packaging. According to the EC, the researchers are now running five pilot production runs of the new polymer composite, based on tiny nanotube formations, to test its technical, industrial, and commercial viability. The researchers “form tiny materials based on natural ‘halloysite nanotubes’ (HNTs), which act as reliable and safe carriers that can deliver minute amounts of an EU-approved bioactive agent or oil to stop food from going bad or becoming mouldy.” The EC states that due to their “minuscule size,” HNTs are unable to migrate from the food packaging into food itself, making them a “safe and natural preservative.” The EC notes that the project is also considering legal, safety, and environmental aspects, as well as consumer and retailer acceptance of the new nanotech-inspired packaging.
NanoMONITOR announced on June 25, 2018, that the NanoMONITOR Monitoring Station is available upon request to use in facilities to obtain robust data on the concentration of engineered nanomaterials. NanoMONITOR’s brochure states that access is provided on a transnational basis with no charge to the user. According to NanoMONITOR, by developing a real-time information and monitoring system, NanoMONITOR supports the risk assessment of nanomaterials under the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulation. This is intended to help to improve the use of environmental monitoring data to support REACH implementation and promote the protection of human health and the environment when dealing with engineered nanomaterials. Interested users should complete the expression of interest form. NanoMONITOR states that its management will only use the information provided to enable its technical experts to discuss the feasibility of proposed activities.
On June 25, 2018, the European Commission’s (EC) Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) published its final opinion on styrene/acrylates copolymer (nano) and sodium styrene/acrylates copolymer (nano). The EC received eight notifications of cosmetic ingredients containing the copolymers in nano forms. According to the applicants, the ingredients are used in nano-coated form in leave-on cosmetic products with maximum reported concentration limits of 0.06 percent. According to the opinion, the EC has concerns over safety of the use of sodium styrene/acrylates copolymer (nano) and styrene/acrylates copolymer (nano) in cosmetic products. The EC requested that SCCS give its opinion on the safety of the nanomaterial styrene/acrylates copolymer and sodium styrene/acrylates copolymer when used in leave-on cosmetics products with a maximum concentration limit of 0.06 percent, taking into account the “reasonably foreseeable exposure conditions.” In the final opinion, SCCS states that it cannot conclude on the safety of any of the three styrene/acrylate copolymer nano-entities submitted by the applicants. According to SCCS, the data submitted are insufficient to evaluate possible toxicity. Regarding use, it was reported that the nano-entities, as present in Nanospheres 100 Theophyllisilane C (SA), were used for encapsulation of a slimming agent Theophyllisilane C. SCCS notes that according to the information provided by the applicants, the formulation might be used in health products like milks, emulsions, creams, lotions, and solutions. No data on the use frequency were provided, however, so the potential exposure could not be estimated based on a use scenario. In addition, SCCS states, the submitted information was based on a (nearly) finished product consisting of a nanomaterial shell (Nanosphere 100) and encapsulated active ingredients (Theophyllisilane C and Algisium C2 (SA) methylsilanol mannuronate). For the formulation Nanospheres 100 D.S.H. C.N (SA), no information on composition was submitted. Data should be provided separately for all of the three styrene/acrylate nanospheres, including any encapsulated substances. The EC requested that SCCS also address any further scientific concerns with regard to the use of styrene/acrylates copolymer and sodium styrene/acrylates copolymer in nano form in cosmetic products. SCCS states: “For applications as evaluated in this Opinion, it is imperative that the safety assessment not only considers safety of the individual components (e.g. the encapsulating material and the encapsulated contents), but also the safety of all the components when put together in the form of a nano-sized entity.”
The “2nd Quantifying Exposure to Engineered Nanomaterials from Manufactured Products (QEEN II) Workshop” will be held October 9-10, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and co-hosted by the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI), the Workshop will highlight new research on the tools and methods available to characterize and quantify effective population exposures, as well as the presence and release potential of nanomaterials. The two-day technical Workshop builds on key themes that emerged from the first QEEN workshop in 2015. According to NNI, the program will address the progress in integrating exposure, hazard, and risk to reduce uncertainties in nanomaterial environmental, health, and safety (EHS) assessments. The Workshop goals include the identification of priorities and options for cross-disciplinary research collaborations. NNI states that the intended audience includes academics, federal representatives, and manufacturers and distributors of nanotechnology-enabled products, as well as communities seeking to understand exposure science related to engineered nanomaterials. The Workshop is free and open to the public with registration on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will open on July 9, 2018, and will be capped at 180 attendees. The 2018 U.S.-European Union (EU) “Bridging Nanotechnology EHS (NanoEHS) Research Efforts” joint workshop will also be held in Washington, D.C., on October 11-12, 2018. It will be the seventh event in a series of joint nanoEHS workshops organized by NNI and the European Commission (EC).