In the past three years, the number of consumer products with a claim to contain nanomaterials on the European market shows a 6-fold increase from 143 products in 2007 to 858 products in 2010. Product categories with the largest growth are the "Personal care products and cosmetics" like sunscreens and various "coating products" such as anti-rain products for shoes and textiles.
This is the result of the most recent RIVM inventory on request of the Dutch Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority (nVWA). The first RIVM inventory was already done in 2007. Therefore, the nVWA requested RIVM to update the list using all relevant sources of the past three years. Possible health effects of nanomaterials in consumer products are not known yet.
To assess the exposure of consumers to nanomaterials in consumer products, it is essential to know which consumer products contain nanomaterials. Product inventories are useful to study this and in the past three years several of such product inventories as well as databases describing consumer products with a nanoclaim have been published. They show that there are already numerous nano-consumer products on the European market. However, to confirm the presence of nanomaterials in the products, the nanoclaim has to be justified by detection of nanomaterials in the products. Subsequently, more information on the characteristics of the nanomaterials is necessary like the shape, concentration and the location of the nanomaterial in the product. For a proper risk assessment, also user information is needed, like the number of people using the product, where it is used (inside, outside) and how often. This information is essential for a robust exposure assessment.