In an article published on September 7, 2018, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) informed about a new study that “collect[ed] publicly available information on the identified nano-sized pigments that are on the EU market.” This study was commissioned by the EU Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) and the final report was published in September 2018.

The study found that “the risks of nanopigments cannot be adequately assessed due to missing information on exposure, the absence of reliable nano-specific toxicological data, and a general lack of public-domain data on their uses,” ECHA summarized, adding that “available toxicological data . . . [are] often inconsistent, and reported results often contradictory.” Therefore, the report recommends that future work should have “an increased emphasis on exposure assessment and control as well as generating well-designed and realistic exposure scenarios on particular nanomaterials for easy access and for benchmarking different safety measures,” ECHA explained. To enable building real-world exposure scenarios, the report calls on the “enterprises to share sensitive data regarding their production and processes involving nanomaterials.”

Another outcome of the EUON study was delivering an inventory of nano-sized pigments currently on the EU market. The report identifies 77 substances as nano-sized pigments along with “additional four filler pigments used to increase the volume and reduce the overall cost of the ink in which the pigment is used.” This inventory of nano-sized pigments is now published on the EUON website.

The EUON report explains that “pigments provide a wide range of coloring applications in products such coatings, decorative and protective paints, plastics, printing inks, ceramics, candles, paper products, pharmaceuticals, rubber materials, cements, abrasives, soaps, textile fibers, foodstuffs, decorative cosmetics, and sunscreens.” While several European databases have been established to collect information on market applications of nanomaterials, including nanopigments, some uses can be exempt from reporting. For example, the Danish register of nanoproducts exempts food contact materials, cosmetics, and medical devices (FPF reported).

Read more

ECHA (September 9, 2018). “Study finds knowledge gaps in risk assessment of nano pigments.

EUON and ECHA (September 2018). “Literature study on the uses and risks of nanomaterials as pigments in the European Union.” DOI 10.2823/260688 (pdf)

EUON (2018). “Pigments. List of nano-pigments on the EU market.