Consumers and risk of nanomaterials
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Consumers and risk of nanomaterials. [email protected] CONFERENCE ON NANO-SAFETY 22-24.April, Slovenia, Ljubljana. Consumers. ZPS BEUC CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL TACD ANEC. Consumers by definition buy products for own use. Consumers and risk poor knowledge - limits to choice.

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Consumers and risk of nanomaterials

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Consumers and risk of nanomaterials

[email protected]

CONFERENCE ON NANO-SAFETY22-24.April, Slovenia, Ljubljana


  • ZPS

  • BEUC


  • TACD

  • ANEC

Consumers by definition buy products for own use..

Consumers and riskpoor knowledge - limits to choice

  • Which? Consumer survey : 61% of people surveyed had never heard of nanotechnologies

  • Slovene consumer hasn’t been asked yet

Consumers and riskwho is a consumer?

Consumers are not a statistical test

  • Child

  • Youth

  • Elderly

  • Sick

  • …….

Consumers and health riskcommunication on the labell – is it enough?

Toothpaste with Ca

  • Limited use – labelling

  • ?bleeding gums

  • Ca blood homeostasis – 48 h

  • Too much Ca in blood: respiratory and heart failure

Consumers and health riskcommunication on the labell – is it enough?

Silicon dioxide : E551, aditive

  • Can penetrate human epithelial cell

    Titanium dioxide: E 171

  • Lethal to water fleas (only?)

    Carbon nano tubes

  • C60 in bass penetrates blood brain barriers

    Zinc oxide

  • Phototoxic effect of nano zinc oxide is known

Consumer and gap in communication nano risk

Warning labell:

  • May cause......

  • Use only if..

    Need for

    • Education

  • Information

  • Empowerment

    But when??

Nano and the environment(end of consumer product use)

Socks with nano silver washed out

  • Sewer treatment problems

  • Ecotoxic/toxic heavy metal

  • Biocide

  • Already widely used (wash mashines, fridges..)

Research: Tekstilec, vol 51/2008

  • Elementary nano silver as antibacterial agent – original scientific paper

  • No benefit shown:

  • The bacterial reduction was too low to assure effective antimicrobial activity

Gaps or limited understanding of the potential effects

Numerous warnings tabled:

  • UK Royal society and Royal Academy of Engineering (2004)

  • SCENIHR (2006)

  • UK Council for Science and Technology (2007)

  • SCCP (2007)

  • + DG Enterprise recent letter to cosmetics sector

  • FP7 research

  • BfR

  • Defra

  • Etc……………

  • ………………..

Gap - consumer vs. product use

Risk of nano particles vs benefit of consumer product use

Should be demonstrated!

After market useage gap

What is risk?

harmful, undesired product properties


harmful, undesired product useage properties

Hazard can be intrinsic, extrinsic,

technological , environmental and also moral (malpractice)

Gap – Consumer - complex and diverse is a risk

In the context of risk, consumers and specially vulnerable groups should present a measure to limits

  • Elderly population that is on the rise,

  • Children,

  • Pregnant women

  • Sick

  • …..

Bridgeing the gaps – legislation as a minimumCosmetics directive/regulation – consumer NGO’s welcome inclusion of nano

  • Labelling

  • Catalogueing chemicals, substances and products

    But there is not enough regulation in:

  • Definition of nano only covers biopersistent and insoluble nanomaterials

  • Risk assessed for certain specific purposes, but not for all nano in cosmetics

  • We regret that the safety requirements will only start in 2012

Regulatory aspects of nanomaterials (COM 2008)consumer NGO view

1. immediate review ought to be addressed also in: REACH, Novel Foods, Cosmetics, quality of water and waste..

2. Coherent and comprehensive approach needed ( now it is fragmented and limiting, i.e.cosmetics ..)

3. “no data no market” principle

4. Common harmonised definition for all relevant EU legislation:

  • size: 100 nm or less

  • Substances having nanomaterilas properties included

  • All, not just insoluble and bioacumulative

    5. transparancy, traceability and information to consumers through labelling and mandatory inventory public registry of products and nanomaterials

Thank you

?will legs be enough?

?will precautionary principle be enough?

John F. Kennedy, 15th March 1962

«Consumers by definition, include us all. They are the largest economic group, affecting and affected by almost every public and private economic decision.

Yet they are the only important group... whose views are often not heard»

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