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Study Analyzes Existing Research on Dermal Absorption of Nanomaterials Used in Consumer Products and at Workplaces

The European Union (EU) Observatory for Nanomaterials (EUON) announced on May 20, 2020, that a recent study has analyzed existing research on whether nanomaterials used in consumer products and at workplaces are absorbed through the skin.  The study was commissioned by EUON and carried out by the RPA consortium of Triskelion and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).  According to EUON, the study found that the lack of standardized, validated methods and the use of varying testing protocols make it difficult to compare results and evaluate whether nanomaterials can penetrate the skin.  EUON states that “[b]ased on the findings, nanomaterials rarely absorb through intact skin, except for silver that is likely to partly penetrate in ionic form.  Silver is used for its anti-bacterial properties in textiles and can be found in other consumer products such as pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.”  Some of the analyzed studies suggest that absorption through damaged skin is higher than through intact skin.  EUON notes that a key recommendation for any new studies that aim to provide proof of skin absorption is to perform them using tests performed on tissue in external environments with minimal alterations to natural conditions (ex vivo), comparable to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Test Guideline 428, with human or porcine skin.  EUON states that rodent skin should not be used due to differences in skin characteristics between rodents and humans.

The study covered experimental data, including tests performed inside the bodies of living organisms (in vivo) and ex vivo studies.  It looked at factors associated with test methodology that can affect absorption through the skin, for example:  exposure conditions; different experimental set-ups; and methods.  The effects of the characteristics of nanomaterials on skin absorption, including particle size and surface charge, were also analyzed.  According to EUON, in addition to compiling relevant studies, the study looked at test guidelines and whether the results are available in a structured way, for example, following OECD harmonized templates.

©2020 Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 143


About this Author

Lynn Bergeson, Campbell PC, Toxic Substances Control Act Attorney, federal insecticide lawyer, industrial biotechnology legal counsel, Food Drug Administration law
Managing Partner

Lynn L. Bergeson has earned an international reputation for her deep and expansive understanding of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), and especially how these regulatory programs pertain to nanotechnology, industrial biotechnology, synthetic biology, and other emerging transformative technologies. Her knowledge of and involvement in the policy process allows her to develop client-focused strategies whether...

Carla Hutton, Bergeson Campbell PC, global regulatory attorney, public health activists lawyer, metals industry legal counsel, Toxic Substances Control Act law
Regulatory Analyst

Since 1996, Carla Hutton has monitored, researched, and written about regulatory and legislative issues that may potentially affect Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) clients. She is responsible for creating a number of monthly and quarterly regulatory updates for B&C's clients, as well as other documents, such as chemical-specific global assessments of regulatory developments and trends. She authors memoranda for B&C clients on regulatory and legislative developments, providing information that is focused, timely and applicable to client initiatives. These tasks have proven invaluable to many clients, keeping them aware and abreast of developing issues so that they can respond in kind and prepare for the future of their business.

Ms. Hutton brings a wealth of experience and judgment to her work in federal, state, and international chemical regulatory and legislative issues, including green chemistry, nanotechnology, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Proposition 65, and the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program.