Both regulators and manufacturers need to evaluate and manage consumer health risks that may be posed by the use of nanomaterials in cosmetics. RIVM has found that it is feasible to develop an electronic tool (program) that allows an estimation of the risk of the use of nanomaterials in cosmetics. The outcome of the risk assessment is important as it indicates whether measures need to be taken to mitigate and/or reduce the observed risks.
Nanomaterials consisting of particles smaller than 0.1µm are increasingly used in consumer products including cosmetics. For example in sunscreens to improve the Sun Protection Factor (SPF).
Risk assessment tool
RIVM describes the content of an electronic tool (computer program) that can be used for risk assessment. The NanoCosmetics tool needs to cover all aspects of the risk assessment. So, the tool needs to contain the following components: the physicochemical characterisation of the nanomaterials, the estimation of the consumer exposure, the possible hazards (toxicity) induced by the nanomaterials, and finally the risk assessment itself.
In cases where only limited information is available, the tool will use default values as input data for the risk assessment. These default values will generally result in a conservative outcome.