Monday, December 08, 2008

Industry backs nano-cosmetics

13 Nov 2008
By Sophie Blakemore

The beauty industry has defended the use of nanotechnology in the manufacture of cosmetics after its safety was called into question by a consumer watchdog.

A report published by Which? said “nano” particles were widely used in cosmetic products, such as anti-wrinkle creams and sunscreens, despite uncertainties about customer safety.Small Wonder? Nanotechnology and Cosmetics called for more research and tirals to be introduced, and for manufacturers to be obligated to clearly state which products use nano materials.

Nanotechnology manipulates atoms and molecules on a very small scale, more than 50,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, to enable them to take on new properties.Many brands were cited in the report for their use of nanotechnology, including Agera skincare, which uses it to deliver peptides into the skin.

But Dr Mervyn Patterson, medical director of Eden Aesthetics, which distributes Agera in the UK, said many cosmetics using nano materials were subjected to greater tests than the “crude techniques” other products went through. “Agera has spent a decade researching this technology and the nano materials used in its products are tested on human skin cells in the lab and then the final product itself is tested again to ensure safety. I really don’t know what the fuss is about – you can never say something is 100% reaction-free but we are confident in the safety and benefits of our products.”

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA) said the cosmetics industry took its legal responsibility to supply only safe products very seriously. “Each and every cosmetic product supplied in the EU must have a rigorous safety assessment... taking into account every aspect of its manufacture, including size,” a spokesman said. “We are disappointed that Which? feels the stringent EU rules surrounding the manufacture and safety assessment of cosmetics are somehow not robust.”

However, chief policy advisor at Which? Sue Davies said although many nanotechnology applications could lead to revolutionary developments in cosmetics, until safety checks were obligatory “the simple fact is we just don’t know enough. The government must introduce a compulsory reporting scheme for manufactured nano materials so we are all aware – and only those that are independently assessed as safe should be allowed to be used in cosmetics,” she said.

The CTPA said it was working with cosmetics companies, European trade associations and the regulatory authorities to ensure comprehensive regulation of all cosmetic products.

Source: Professional Beauty

We Say: It is clear that more tests are required to prove the safety of nano-cosmetics and we may never know the full extent of what effect they have, so why risk it, when there are so many great alternatives on the market.

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