Sunday, April 5, 2009News

Nanomaterials: back from dusk to plain light

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European M.Ps. have made it mandatory: nanomaterials in our cosmetics shall be listed since 11 July 2013. This is an important step forward for regulation. Though they are widely used in our cosmetics, in fact, in many of them (sunscreen creams, deodorants, anti-wrinkles creams, eye shadow, hair care, fragrances…), nano-ingredients kept a low profile on labels. This “low profile” has not been consistently the rule, andThis “low profile” has not been consistently the rule, and it thus can’t be now,, but their “return” from light to shade and back needs clarification.

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~ 7 minutes

First, they were seen as revolutionary ingredients, amazingly efficient vehicles for anti-ageing agents. They were displayed in large print on labels and pushed forward in ads.

Nanoparticles have also become ubiquitous in sunscreen creams, giving minerals (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) a size small enough to prevent unsightly white layers on skin while having the same protection level against UV radiation.

Then, someday, any “nano” something was deleted from cosmetics ads and selling points. The word was banned from labels. Selling points pointed out other ingredients; an awkward silence was the only “action” about these tiny particles, though it seems they are far from absent from formulae. Why this sudden closely guarded secret?

From light to dusk

Let us go backwards. Nano-ingredients began to be used in our cosmetics (but also in our food or in our environment) before any evaluation of their safety and before any epidemiological tests being performed according to their specific characteristics.

Following a path very similar to GMOs’ development, nanomaterials have been invented and developed, then very quickly present in widely used products. Thorough tests, studies on their potential toxicity, as well as better information to the consumer, and an in-depth debate are… postponed by …

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