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What is it?

“Nanoparticles, also called nanomaterials, are particles between 1 and 100 nanometres (nm) in size. In nanotechnology, a particle is defined as a small object that behaves as a whole unit with respect to its transport and properties.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

Harmful if inhaled.

Studies sponsored by the FDA and the European Union have showed that nanoparticles don’t penetrate the skin. Using for example nanoparticles of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide cream sunscreens does not pose any health risk, according to European legislators. Nonoparticles become dangerous when they are inhaled, possibly from powdered makeup and spray sunscreens. Creams and lotions containing nanoparticles are considered safe to use.

Depending on which substance that is in its nano-form, the effects are different, some may cause cancer and others may cause harm to organs. On product labels and ingredients lists; a chemical is in its nano-form if it is followed by (nano), for example “Titanium Dioxide (nano)”.

The Swedish Chemicals Agency writes about nanomaterials; “A substance in extremely tiny form can have completely different properties to those it has in its usual form. The specific properties of a nanomaterial may imply an increased risk to humans and the environment. Not only its technical properties but also its hazardous properties can change. Nanomaterials can enter, spread throughout and affect the body and the environment in other ways than the same substances do when occurring in their normal size.”

The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) reports that “exposure to certain ultrafine particles) is linked to increased morbidity and mortality from cardio – vascular and pulmonary diseases, including lung cancer.”

How is it used?

Nanoparticles have widespread use, and can be found in products such as paints, cosmetics, textiles, sports equipment and electronic products. The nanomaterials all have different properties, they could for example be electrical, mechanical, optical, magnetic, or chemical.

Nanoparticles in cosmetics* are mostly used in products such as powder makeup (nano powder), cream sunscreens, and spray sunscreens (nano spray). Perhaps most known in this area is the use of nanomaterials in sun protection products. Many new sunscreens, viewed as as safer alternatives to traditional sunscreens, include nanomaterials. Sunscreen products containing for example nano zinc oxide and nano titanium dioxide, protects the skin from UVA rays by coating the skin with a nano-layer of the substance. On the contrary to traditional sunscreens  that protect the skin from UVA rays by penetrating, going into the skin.

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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