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Weak regulation on cosmetics a time bomb

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Voluntary regulatory system in US cosmetic industry can be a time bomb:
Now, new nanotechnologies are being widely deployed in cosmetics products, despite evidence of serious potential health risks. Moreover, the physical application of some of the nanotechnologies to the body in cosmetics makes these uses uniquely prone to skin penetration, inhalation and ingestion of the nanotech materials.

List of cosmetics using nano products:
  • Penetration enhancer - Encapsulating or suspending key ingredients in so-called nanospheres or nanoemulsions, increases their penetration into the skin
  • L’Oreal (which ranks No. 6 in nanotechnology patent holders in the U.S.) 75 has used polymer nanocapsules to deliver active ingredients, e.g. retinol or Vitamin A, into the deeper layers of skin. In 1998 the company unveiled Plentitude Revitalift, an anti-wrinkle cream using nanoparticles.
  • Freeze 24/7, a new anti-wrinkle skincare line is planning to incorporate nanotechnology in future products.
  • La Prairie’s product, the Dollars 500 Skin Caviar Intensive Ampoule Treatment, claims to minimize the look of uneven skin pigmentation, lines and wrinkles in six weeks using nanotechnology. La Prairie’s vice president of retail marketing and training, Holly Genovese, says the nanoemulsions in the product “optimize the delivery of functional ingredients into the skin and allow these materials to get to the site of action quicker”.
  • Procter & Gamble’s Olay brand was designed with nanoemulsion technology in 2005.
  • Other companies using nanotech in their skin products as of 2005 include: Mary Kay and Clinique from Lauder; Neutrogena, from Johnson & Johnson; Avon; and the
  • Estee Lauder brand.
  • Hair products – using nanoemulsions to encapsulate active ingredients and carry them deeper into hair shafts.
  • PureOlogy began experimenting with nanoemulsions in 2000 when the company’s founder set out to create a product line especially developed for color treated hair.Sunscreens – the zinc and titanium in sunscreens are “micronized”, making them transparent, less greasy, less smelly and more absorbable into the skin.
  • DDF planned more nanotech-enhanced anti-aging products as of 2004.
  • Colorescience markets a product named Sunforgettable, a powder which contains titanium dioxide nanoparticles.
  • Paris-based Caudalie launched its Vinosun Anti-Aging Suncare, a sunscreen and anti-aging treatment that relies on “nanomized” UV filters and antioxidants, in the US in 2003.
I guess although the heading is "cosmetic", when nanoproducts are used, examination mechanism shall not be voluntary. Download IEHN report here.