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Nano the France to the precautionary principle. Only a few studies and scientific data on the exposure of consumers, workers and the environment to nanoparticles, French, said the agency responsible for environmental safety. Given these scientific uncertainties, has recommended the application of the precautionary principle, and in some cases, the prohibition of the use of nano.

Scientific uncertainty Several studies suggest that some products containing nanomaterials may present risks to health and environment. It is in any case the conclusion of the French Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (Afsset), who just published the results of a collective expertise on risk assessment on nanomaterials for general population and the environment.

Afsset found several hundred consumer products containing nanomaterials (cosmetics, textiles, food, sports gear, construction materials), for which the agency notes “a context of scientific uncertainty”.

The agency underlines that consumer exposure to manufactured nanomaterials and the environmental dispersion resulting from their consumption, prove “to be extremely complex to evaluate, both qualitatively and quantitatively”, particularly because of the low traceability of nanomaterials in products intended for consumption nano silver antibacterial residual killing. As for studies on risks to health and environment, they represent only 2% of published studies on nanomaterials, and are often affected by many biases (absent or incomplete characterization of nanomaterials, studies conducted on synthetic molecules not deriving from finished products, studies on far higher doses than actual exposure, etc..).

Sunscreens In an attempt to better assess the extent of risks Afsset selected and analyzed four types of products incorporating nanoparticles: antibacterial socks (silver nanoparticles), self-cleaning cement, sunscreen (nanoparticles of titanium dioxide), and sugar powder (food nanosilice). These products are widely used and representative of different routes for direct exposure (dermal, by inhalation or by ingestion), nano silver antibacterial residual killing but Afsset said that in this area, “findings of a study conducted on a specific case cannot in any case be generalized or extrapolated to another product in the same category”.

Regarding sunscreens, the agency notes that if, until very recently, various studies showed that there was no passage of nanoparticles of titanium dioxide (TiO2) through the skin barrier, ” results of some more recent studies show, on the contrary, the existence of a skin passage and the possibility for these TiO2 nanoparticles to be found in the deep layer of the epidermis”.

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Afsset considers that the risk to human health cannot be excluded for sunscreens containing TiO2, “given the uncertainties on the potential for skin penetration and phototoxic activity”. With regard to ecotoxicity, no consistent data is really available.

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