The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued last Friday a draft guidance document addressing the use of nanotechnology by the cosmetics industry.

The “Guidance for Industry: Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products,” discusses the FDA’s current thinking on the safety assessment of nanomaterials when used in cosmetic products.

Key points of the document include:

- The legal requirements for cosmetics manufactured using nanomaterials are the same as those for any other cosmetics. Companies and individuals who market cosmetics are legally responsible for the safety of their products and they must be properly labelled.
- To conduct safety assessments for cosmetic products containing nanomaterials, standard safety tests may need to be modified or new methods developed.

Margaret A. Hamburg, FDA Commissioner

Margaret A. Hamburg, FDA Commissioner

The guidance encourages manufacturers to consult with the agency before taking their products to market. Such consultation can help FDA experts address questions related to the safety or other attributes of nanotechnology products, or answer questions about their regulatory status,” explained the FDA in a release.

Nanotechnology has a broad range of potential applications, such as the packaging of food or altering the look and feel of cosmetics.

We are taking a prudent scientific approach to assess each product on its own merits and to not make broad, general assumptions about the safety of nanotechnology products,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg.

The purpose of the guidance document will be to assist industry and other stakeholders in identifying the potential safety issues of nanomaterials in cosmetic products and developing a framework for evaluating them. At this stage, the FDA is requesting comments from all interested parties. Electronic or written comments should be submitted within 90 days.

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Guidance for Industry: Safety of Nanomaterials in Cosmetic Products