International regulation bodies move towards global nano regulation

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags European union

Following on from a series of workshop between global regulatory bodies held in Italy this summer, further steps have been taken towards the global regulation of nanomaterials in cosmetics.

The International Workshop on Regulatory Issues regarding the use of Nanotechnologies in Cosmetics took place in July in Ispra, Italy, under the initiative of the International Co-operation on Cosmetics Regulation (ICCR).

The event was organized by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center and included the four ICCR jurisdictions from Canada, the EU, Japan and the USA.

Likewise international regulatory bodies, industry associations and scientific committees were also invited to contribute to the discussions that took place in a series of workshops outlining how regulation had advanced in their specific markets and how it was likely to evolve in the future.

Establishing different approaches to regulation worldwide

The main objectives of the event were to establish how nanotech cosmetics are currently regulated in individual markets, providing feedback about testing methods and data generation, while also stressing regulation clarity and looking into means to help stimulate international convergence of safety regulations.

The two day event included presentations from each of the four international bodies, emphasizing the different approaches that have been taken across the globe.

The EU position stressed that existing regulation was sufficient to cover cosmetics containing nanomaterials, but also underlined the importance of labeling and notification of cosmetics containing such materials.

The US representation also stated its belief that current FDA regulation adequately covers such materials, stressing that at this stage, a specific definition maybe too restrictive.

More information on nanomaterials needed

The main shortfall for the US authorities was the lack of information about the presence of nanomaterials in cosmetics and lack of data that establishes their safety.

The Canadian authorities said they continue to assess legislation to assess nanomaterials, but said they were being inhibited by the lack of international nomenclature to establish to identify nano materials.

However, the Canadian authorities also acknowledged that they are set to establish ‘working definitions’ aimed at forging internationally accepted definitions.

The Japanese regulations representatives said that it was important to work within the current guidelines for nanomaterials, until there is further scientific evidence to introduce nano-specific regulations.

Importance of working within current regulations

The resulting discussions from the presentations concluded that, as the Japanese authorities pointed out, it is important to work within the current recognized regulations.

Likewise, the suggestion from the European authorities to label nanomaterials in cosmetics was acknowledged as emphasizing the importance of harmonized definitions for this area.

Perhaps most importantly, the characterization of nanomaterials was recognized by all the bodies as being central to developing and harmonizing testing methods for safety assessments.

Further articles on this event will cover specific workshops and resulting discussion outcomes in greater detail in the course of the next week.

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