Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety
About this Publication on Zinc oxide (nano form)
- Source for this Publication
- The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)
- Background to the SCCS opinion on Zinc oxide (nano form)
- Specific questions put to the SCCS by the European Commission
1. Source for this Publication
The texts in level 3 are directly sourced from:
"Opinion on Zinc oxide (nano form)”, a report produced in September 2012 by the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) of the European Commission
Levels 1 and 2 were written by Dr Jon Turney
2. The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)
The Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) is one of three non-food committees which gives independent scientific advice on consumer safety, public health and the environment. It provides opinions on health and safety risks (that is, chemical, biological, mechanical and other physical risks) of non-food consumer products, such as cosmetics and their ingredients, toys, textiles, clothing, personal care and household products, and services, such as tattooing, and artificial sun tanning).
For further information on the SCCS see http://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/index_en.htm
3. Background to the SCCS opinion on Zinc oxide (nano form)
Zinc oxide is a simple compound which is used in many cosmetics as a colorant or bulking agent. It is also used as for skin protection and ultra-violet light absorber in sunscreens. It is generally considered safe. New preparation methods now allow incorporation of smaller particles of zinc oxide ("nanoparticles”), which allow production of a transparent sunscreen which is as effective as earlier, opaque white preparations. However, these require separate safety testing.
Products containing up to 25 per cent zinc oxide as nanoparticles have been considered as a result of a previous submissions to the SCCS, in 2003 (SCCNFP/0649/03, final), which found no risk from microparticles but called for further studies on some aspects of the behaviour of the nano-preparations, especially their possible skin absorption.
The Committee repeated this call for additional data in 2009. The latest report considers new data submissions which cover further testing of nanoparticles.
4. Specific questions put to the SCCS by the European Commission
- Does the SCCS consider zinc oxide in its nano-form safe for use as a UV-filter with a concentration up to 25% in cosmetic products taking into account the scientific data provided?
- Does the SCCS confirm that zinc oxide in its non-nano form is safe for use as a UV- filter with a concentration up to 25% as stated in the SCCP clarification (SCCP/1215/09)?
- And/or does the SCCS have any further scientific concern with regard to the use of zinc oxide in cosmetic products?
The Three-Level Structure used to communicate this Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) opinion is copyrighted by Cogeneris SPRL.