Actualités Risques et Evaluation

Thèmes: 3e Plan Santé au Travail et Produits Chimiques; Peau et passage de phtalates; Métaux lourds et contaminants dans des médecines traditionnelles chinoises

“Le 3e Plan Santé Au Travail Inscrit Les Produits Chimiques Parmi Les Risques Prioritaires”
25858_une“10 Décembre-La prévention de l’exposition aux produits chimiques est identifiée comme l’un des risques prioritaires du PST 3. Amiante, nanomatériaux et perturbateurs endocriniens sont particulièrement ciblés.
Le Conseil d’orientation des conditions de travail (COCT) a adopté mardi 8 décembre le troisième Plan santé au travail (PST 3), qui constitue la feuille de route du Gouvernement dans ce domaine pour la période 2016-2020. « Ce plan marque un infléchissement majeur en faveur d’une politique de prévention qui anticipe les risques professionnels et garantisse la bonne santé des salariés plutôt que de s’en tenir à une vision exclusivement réparatrice », a déclaré la ministre du Travail. (…)’

“Skin Matches Lung Absorption of Phthalates”
skinchemicals_SI_850“Some people assume that the majority of pollutants enter the body through breathing; however, a new report by Science News suggests that equal amounts of some pollutants can enter the body via the skin.
As the body’s biggest organ, skin can serve as a sponge for such chemicals, said John Kissel, environmental engineer at the University of Washington in Seattle in the report.
“If the whole body is exposed, then even low rates of exposure can deliver what turns out to be nontrivial amounts of these chemicals,” he explained.
Phthalates Exposed
Phthalates are an example of harmful chemicals, which are used as solvents and building blocks for plastics. Due to their extensive use, phthalates are found throughout the environment and in people’s bodies. Studies have linked exposure to phthalates with changes in mental activity and reproductive organs for babies, young children and babies in utero. (…)”

“Heavy Metals, Pharmaceuticals and Endangered Species DNA Found in Traditional Chinese Medicines, Research Finds. “

“Some traditional Chinese medicines are laced with pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and even endangered animals, new research has revealed.
« Some traditional Chinese medicines are laced with pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and even endangered animals, new research has revealed.
Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) have long been thought by some as a more natural, herbal approach to curing ailments.
But now a study carried out by Curtin University, Murdoch University and the University of Adelaide has found 90 per cent of 26 widely available medicines tested were not fit for human consumption.
Key points:

• Study found 90pc of 26 widely available medicines not fit for human consumption
• Half contained illegal substances, including toxic metals, prescription medication, stimulants
• Some contained arsenic, lead, Viagra, rat poison and DNA of endangered species
• Researcher says ‘honour system’ of TGA listing being exploited
Half contained illegal substances, including toxic metals, prescription medications, stimulants and animal DNA, none of which were listed on the product’s label.

TCMs are a multi-billion-dollar industry and it is estimated 50 per cent of Australians have used alternative therapies at some point.
Researchers employed a new method involving highly sensitive DNA sequencing, toxicology and heavy metal testing to assess the composition of the TCMs.
« If we don’t know what’s in them, it’s very difficult to predict the interactions, … that’s obviously of great concern if they are been given to children, or pregnant women, the potential outcomes there are very serious.

The study does not disclose the brands of medicines checked, but confirmed they were purchased in Adelaide and available for sale in retailers and markets nationally.
Curtin University lead researcher Professor Michael Bunce said the results were shocking.
« Half of them have illegal ingredients in them, we’ve determined from DNA, half of them have got pharmaceuticals added to them that are clearly synthetic in nature and have not come from natural compounds, » he said.
« Another proportion of them have heavy metals beyond the safe ingestion recommendations … 90 per cent of them are really not fit for human consumption. »
Murdoch University biochemist Dr Garth Maker said contamination by undisclosed pharmaceuticals was a health concern.
He said over-the-counter drugs like paracetamol and ibuprofen were found but also steroids, blood thinner warfarin and even sildenafil, the active ingredient in Viagra.
« We were surprised but at the same time, there definitely seems to be an element of deception in designing these things to have a specific outcome, » he said.
« They may contain ephedrine, which will give a lot of people a buzz, and therefore they feel good and they think ‘this is fantastic medicine, I should keep taking it’. »

ECHA- Actualités

ECHA Actualités: Share information about REACH 2018, new infographic available; 53 new substances to be evaluated; New consultations for harmonised classification and labelling; New CLH consultation launched on the pesticide Spirodiclofen; Registry of intentions updated; RMOA of Copper Sulphide; Commission invites comments on restricting 291 substances; New version of Epic available, changes for companies notifying exports of mixtures; Epic tool update; Advice to epic chemicals exporters ; Are you planning to export PIC chemicals in 2016 ? Notify your intentions now; Update to guidance on information requirements and chemical safety assessment; Expert workshop on health impacts of chemicals; Board of Appeal decides in case a-006-2014 on the substance evaluation of Hexyl Salicylate


« Share Information About REACH 2018 – New Infographic Available »-ECHA

« Do you know companies who are dealing with chemicals and might need to register them with ECHA to stay on the market after May 2018 ? Do you know companies who know their obligations but have not yet started the work? Share the information from our REACH 2018 web pages and remind them of their tasks with our new infographic. Remember also that preparing a registration can take anything between six months to three years. So, starting as soon as possible is key to a successful registration. (…) »
Sources :
ECHA Newsletter 28.10.2015 :
REACH 2018 web pages :


« Evaluation- 53 New Substances To Be Evaluated »-ECHA

« ECHA has prepared a proposal to update the Community rolling action plan for 2016-2018. The Member States are planning to evaluate 138 substances, out of which 53 are newly selected. The final plan will be adopted in March 2016.
The draft plan has been prepared in close cooperation with the Member States, taking into account risk-based criteria for the selection of substances. ECHA encourages registrants of the listed substances to start coordinating their actions and to contact the evaluating Member States. (…)«
Sources :

ECHA Newsletter 28.10 :
News alert :
Draft CORAP 2016–2018 :
Draft Corap list :
Updated CORAP :

Classification& Etiquetage Harmonisés Consultations publiques

« New Consultations For Harmonised Classification And Labelling »-ECHA

« ECHA has launched public consultations on the harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) proposals for isobutyl methacrylate (EC 202-613-0, CAS 97-86-9) and 2-benzyl-2-dimethylamino-4′-morpholinobutyrophenone (EC 404-360-3, CAS 119313-12-1). Isobutyl methacrylate is currently classified in Annex VI of the CLP Regulation. Its most common use is as a monomer for polymerisation or intermediate in synthesis of other chemicals. We invite you to provide comments on the hazard classes eye irritation, skin sensitisation and aquatic acute toxicity.
2-benzyl-2-dimethylamino-4′-morpholinobutyrophenone also has a harmonised classification. It is used as a photosensitive agent in printing inks, pigmented coatings and photopolymers for imaging applications. We invite you to provide comments on reproductive toxicity. Submit comments by 11 December 2015. (…)»
Sources :
ECHA Newsletter 28.10 :
Current CLH consultations :

“New CLH Consultation Launched On The Pesticide Spirodiclofen”-ECHA

“ECHA has launched a public consultation on the harmonised classification and labelling (CLH) proposal for spirodiclofen (ISO); 3-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-2-oxo-1-oxaspiro[4.5]dec-3-en-4-yl 2,2-dimethylbutyrate (CAS 148477-71-8). Spirodiclofen has no harmonised classification in Annex VI of the CLP Regulation. It is an active substance used as an insecticide and acaricide. We invite you to provide comments on the following hazard classes: All physical hazards; All health hazards except respiratory sensitisation; All environmental hazards except hazardous for the ozone layer. Submit comments by 4 December 2015. (…)”
Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
Current CLH consultations :
CLH consultation spirodiclofen :

Classification& Etiquetage Harmonisés- Registre d’intentions

« Registry Of Intentions Updated « -ECHA

« Two dossiers for harmonised classification and labelling were submitted by Germany: L-(+)-lactic acid; (2S)-2-hydroxypropanoic acid (EC 201-196-2, CAS 79-33-4) and pymetrozine (ISO); (E)-4,5-dihydro-6-methyl-4-(3-pyridylmethyleneamino)-1,2,4-triazin-3(2H)-one (CAS 123312-89-0).
The United Kingdom submitted a dossier for thifensulfuron-methyl (ISO); methyl 3-(4-methoxy-6-methyl- 1,3,5-triazin-2-ylcarbamoylsulfamoyl)thiophene-2-carboxylate (CAS 79277-27-3). (…)»
Sources :
ECHA Newsletter 28.10 :
Submitted CLH consultations:

“Registry Of Intentions Updated”-ECHA

Eight new CLH intentions have been added to the Registry of Intentions:

empenthrin (ISO) (CAS 918500-11-5)
dibutylbis(pentane-2,4-dionato-O,O’)tin (EC 245-152-0; CAS 22673-19-4)
theophylline; 1,3-dimethyl-3,7-dihydro-1H-purine-2,6-dione (EC 200-385-7; CAS 58-55-9)
ethylene oxide; oxirane (EC 200-849-9; CAS 75-21-8)
thiabendazole (ISO) (EC 205-725-8; CAS 148-79-8)
imidacloprid (ISO) (EC 428-040-8; CAS 138261-41-3)
p-mentha-1,3-diene; alpha-terpinene; 1-isopropyl-4-methylcyclohexa-1,3-diene (EC 202-795-1; CAS 99-86-5)
p-cymene; 1-isopropyl-4-methylbenzene (EC 202-796-7; CAS 99-87-6).

Two CLH dossiers were submitted by Germany:

dodecyl methacrylate (EC 205-570-6; CAS 142-90-5)
and tris(2-ethylhexyl) 4,4′,4 »-(1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triyltriimino)tribenzoate (EC 402-070-1; CAS 88122-99-0) (…) ».

Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
Current CLH intentions :
Registry of Intentions :
Submitted CLH proposals :

Substances extrêmement préoccupantes

“RMOA Of Copper Sulphide”-ECHA

“A risk management option assessment (RMOA) of copper sulphide has concluded that no action is needed on it at this time. Copper sulphide was selected for assessment because REACH registration data said that, as used in the EU, it could contain an impurity with SVH properties. It therefore potentially fulfilled Article 57 criteria where the concentration limit of the impurity exceeded the generic concentration limit relevant for classification as a CMR category 1A/1B.  Also, the substance is registered for uses within the scope of authorisation. These include in:• processing aids;• lubricants, greases and release products; and • the production of brakepads.
However, a subsequent update of the registration data showed that copper sulphide, as used in the EU, does not contain the impurity that caused it to be selected. It will, though, be re-screened at a later date to consider new information.(…)”
Sources :
Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
RMOA copper sulphide:

« Commission Invites Comments On Restricting 291 Substances »-ECHA

« The European Commission has launched a public consultation on its proposal to restrict 291 substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMR). The aim is to target hazardous substances in textile articles and clothing for consumers. The Commission seeks views on whether its plan is proportional and enforceable, on potential socio-economic impacts and on the likelihood of the identified CMR substances being present in consumer textile articles. The list of CMR substances (individual substances or groups) covered by this possible restriction would be added as a specific appendix to Annex XVII to REACH and could be regularly updated. Please submit your comments at the latest on 22 January 2016. (…)»
Sources :
ECHA Newsletter 28.10 :
Public consultationCMR :

Export- Import de Produits chimiques dangereux

“New Version of EPIC Available – Changes For Companies Notifying Exports Of Mixtures”-ECHA

“An update of the IT tool used for submitting export and import notifications under the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation has now been published. It includes a change for companies notifying mixtures which contain a substance included in an Annex I group entry. (…)”
Sources :
Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
ePIC support page :

“EPIC Tool Update”-ECHA

“Echa has updated the IT tool, used for submitting export and import notifications under the prior informed consent (Pic) Regulation.The new version includes a change for companies notifying mixtures containing a substance included in an Annex I group entry. Companies must now give a Cas or EC number for the actual substance used in the mixture, instead of just referring to the generic group entry.
The agency says this will help to:

• clearly identify the substance already in the notification (and not only in the safety data sheet);
• ensure faster decision making for the importing country; and
• simplify Article 10 reporting for companies as ePIC will automatically prefill the substance information.(…)”

Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
EPic tool update :

“Advice To Epic Chemicals Exporters”-ECHA

“The agency is advising all exporters of ePic chemicals in 2016 to notify their intentions now. It has issued specific reminders to supply up-to-date information on importers, and that the IT tool ePic requires Cas/EC number of actual substance used in any mixture or article. The ePic IT user manual or Echa’s helpdesk are recommended for additional guidance. (…)”
Sources :
Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
Advice to ePic chemical exporters:

“Are You Planning To Export PIC Chemicals In 2016? Notify Your Intentions Now”-ECHA

“To allow national EU authorities and ECHA enough time to process the notifications, and the importing countries time to respond, we recommend that you submit your export notifications for 2016 at your earliest convenience. When preparing your notification, we ask you to provide more detailed information about the importer. For example, up-to-date contact details with a full street address will help the authorities in the receiving country to process your notification faster.
Remember also that the new version of the IT tool ePIC requires those submitting notifications for mixtures/articles with group entries, to specify the CAS/EC number of the actual substance used in the mixture/article. If you have any doubts, have a look at the updated ePIC IT user manual or contact ECHA through our Helpdesk.(…)”
Export notifications :
ePIC user manual :
News item :
Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
ECHA Helpdesk :

Guide ECHA

« Update to Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment (version 3.0) »-ECHA

« The agency is consulting on amendments to Chapter R.7b: Endpoint specific guidance (version 3.0), concerning the sediment compartment. Echa has published a corrigendum to Chapter R.7a of its Guidance on Information Requirements and Chemical Safety Assessment (IR&CSA). The agency says the Partner Expert Group (PEG) discussed and agreed additional text for a bullet point on respiratory sensitisation. It was to be added to avoid the possibility of misinterpretation or misunderstanding. However, it was accidentally omitted in drafting. (…)”
Newsletter ECHA 21.10.2015:
Corrigendum IR&CSA guidance :
REACH guidance consultation :


« Expert Workshop On Health Impacts Of Chemicals »- ECHA

« The agency is to host an expert workshop in Helsinki on 11-12 January 2016 on the valuation of health impacts of chemicals. Participation is by invitation only and aims to facilitate exchange of ideas between researchers in North America and the EU. To be presented and discussed are state-of-the-art studies that elicit willingness-to-pay values for health endpoints, associated with hazardous chemicals.(…) »
Event details chemical health impacts workshop :


« Board Of Appeal Decides In Case A-006-2014 On The Substance Evaluation Of Hexyl Salicylate »-ECHA

« In case A-006-2014, the appellant contested ECHA’s decision requesting an in vitro dermal absorption study, a 28-day repeated dose toxicity study and information on worker and consumer exposure, following the substance evaluation of hexyl salicylate. The Board of Appeal decision examines the scope of the substance evaluation process and the conditions that need to be met in order for the Agency to justify a request for further information. The Board of Appeal dismissed the appeal on the grounds that ECHA had not exceeded the scope of its powers in requesting exposure information from individual registrants and in requesting information on an endpoint that was not the reason for the inclusion of the substance in the community rolling action plan. The Board of Appeal also found that the request for a 28-day repeated dose toxicity study was proportionate as the test is necessary to clarify a potential risk to human health and the environment. (…) »
Sources :
ECHA Newsletter 28.10 :
Board of Appeal decisions :

Agro-Alimentaire- Actualités

Agro-Alimentaire- Actualités : Vote sur les nouveaux aliments, encourager l’innovation alimentaire; Neurogastronomy, a culinary and scientific collaboration; Hydrosol announces FI Europe plans ; UK Moringa-based beauty drink overcomes horrible taste; Olive oil emerges in ice cream, and Black Pepper could be next; Black Licorice: trick or treat ?; Etiquetage nutritionnel, la grande distribution présente son code alternatif aux 5 couleurs; L’expression « Lait végétal » déclarée illégale par l’UE

Recherche et Innovations

« Vote Sur Les Nouveaux Aliments : Encourager L’innovation Alimentaire »- Parlement européen

20151027PHT99775_original« Avez-vous déjà entendu parler des graines de Chia ou de l’huile raffinée de graines de Buglossoides arvensis ? Considérés comme des « nouveaux aliments », ces produits ont fait l’objet d’un vote en plénière aujourd’hui. L’objectif est de simplifier les procédures d’autorisation pour encourager l’innovation alimentaire tout en respectant les normes de sécurité. Le texte, adopté par 359 votes contre 202 et 127 abstentions, doit maintenant être approuvé par les États membres.
Ces dernières années, de nombreux nouveaux produits et ingrédients sont apparus sur le marché. Pourtant, la législation autour des nouveaux aliments date de 1997 : une actualisation de ces règles permettrait donc de mieux refléter les avancées scientifiques et technologiques en la matière. (…) »
Source :’innovation-alimentaire

« Neurogastronomy: A Culinary And Scientific Collaboration »-Perfumer& Flavorist

dreamstime_l_532461942« It’s no secret the culinary industry is a major influence to flavor companies. When it comes to plating, a variety of factors affect taste perception, like color, smell and environmental surroundings. This developing field has the potential to shed new light on food-related illnesses, such as diabetes and obesity, as well as patients’ with a distorted sense of smell and taste due to Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and cancer. (..) »
Sources :–334659381.html


Actualités des entreprises

« Hydrosol Announces Fi Europe Plans »- Ingredients Network

Hydrosol-SIC-Food-2011_scale_xxl«At this year’s Food Ingredients Europe in Paris (December 1-3) stabilising systems provider Hydrosol will present what it describes as attractive new products that address international consumer trends. The focus is on all-in compounds for making vegan alternatives to meat and sausage products, cheese and mayonnaise. There are also new functional systems for whey desserts, sweet and savoury yogurt cubes as well as flavoured mild drinks and yogurt varieties with a high protein content. (…) »
Source :

Extraits de plantes

« UK Moringa-Based Beauty Drink Overcomes ‘Horrible’ Taste »- Nutra Ingredients

UK-Moringa-based-beauty-drink-overcomes-horrible-taste_strict_xxl« A herbal nutricosmetic drink is being launched in the UK utilising the amino acid-rich Himalyan herb, Moringa oleifeira, with the company involved saying it has overcome the ‘horrible’ taste of moringa. (…) »
Source :

« Roquette Investit 40 Millions D’euros A Vic-Sur-Aisne »-Usine Nouvelle

000319628_5« Moyennant 40 millions d’euros, le groupe Roquette augmente la production de pois protéagineux sur son site de Vic-sur-Aisne (Aisne). Ce développement répond à la croissance de la demande mondiale pour les protéines. (…) »
Source :


« In Flavour: Olive Oil Emerges In Ice Cream, And Black Pepper Could Be Next »- Mintel

Ice Cream Recipes« Forget about clearing away the savory seasonings from your dinner table before dessert is served. Olive oil, sea salt and even black pepper are part of a popular ingredients trend in ice cream. The decadent combination of olive oil and ice cream emerged in retail brand offerings in 2015, gaining ground in foodservice and among bloggers for several years. Including olive oil in the recipe is said to provide texture benefits to ice cream, in that it adds an indulgently creamy – yet not oily – texture, while the flavour is said to add subtle grassy and nutty notes. While you’re most likely to find olive oil ice creams in restaurants and gelaterias in Italy, it has become a destination dessert at Otto’s Pizzeria in New York City and is also found in other restaurants across the US. Advocates of the combination even point to how olive oil is rich in naturally occurring antioxidants and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin E – although this is unlikely to bestow ice cream with a health halo. (…) »
Source :


« Black Licorice: Trick or Treat? «-FDA

CSk-_LqUsAEtDqp« As it turns out, you really can overdose on candy—or, more precisely, black licorice.Days before the biggest candy eating holiday of the year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages moderation if you enjoy snacking on the old fashioned favorite.So, if you’re getting your stash ready for Halloween, here’s some advice from FDA:If you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least two weeks could land you in the hospital with an irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.
FDA experts say black licorice contains the compound glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. Glycyrrhizin can cause potassium levels in the body to fall. When that happens, some people experience abnormal heart rhythms, as well as high blood pressure, edema (swelling), lethargy, and congestive heart failure. (…) »
Source :



« Etiquetage Nutritionnel: La Grande Distribution Présente Son Code Alternatif Aux 5 Couleurs »- La Depeche

shutterstock-28-52827143605-original« La fédération représentant les principales enseignes de grande distribution a rendu public ce mercredi son Système d’étiquetage nutritionnel simplifié (SENS), présenté comme une alternative au code à 5 couleurs, qui paraît jusqu’ici avoir les faveurs du ministère de la Santé.La Fédération des entreprises du commerce et de la distribution (FCD), à laquelle appartiennent notamment les distributeurs Auchan, Carrefour, Casino, Système U, a présenté mardi soir au ministère de la Santé, l’algorithme de calcul de ce projet d’étiquetage, composé de quatre flèches de couleurs (du vert au violet) reposant sur la fréquence et la quantité de consommation recommandée, en fonction de la qualité nutritionnelle de chaque produit. (…) »
Sources :
Autre article :
« Etiquetage Alimentaire : La Distribution Présente Son Alternative »-Les Echos


« L’Expression « Lait Végétal » Déclarée Illégale par l’UE » ! »- Lait végétal

lait-vegetal« L’UE se soumet au diktat du lobby du lait et déclare illégale l’expression « lait végétal ». On peut lire dans le texte de loi (EU) 1308/2013, Annexe VII Partie III :
La dénomination « lait » est réservée exclusivement au produit de la sécrétion mammaire normale, obtenu par une ou plusieurs traites, sans aucune addition ni soustraction. »
Une décision pour le moins surprenante, alors que dans de nombreux pays, on a le droit de parler de « lait de soja » ou de « lait d’amande » . Il faudra donc désormais recourir à des euphémismes du type « boisson à base de » soja ou d’amande. (…) »
Sources :
Texte de Loi :

« Présentation Publique du Cahier IESF « Principe De Précaution » »- Ingénieurs & Scientifiques de France

« Ingénieurs et Scientifiques de France organise la présentation publique de son Cahier ayant pour thème : « Pour une application raisonnée du principe de précaution ».

logo_iesfMonsieur Martial SADDIER, député-maire de la Haute Savoie sera invité pour débattre sur le sujet, en présence de Michel Bruder, président du Comité Environnement d’IESF et membre du groupe de travail spécial ayant établi ce document et François Lureau, président d’IESF.

Cette rencontre se déroulera mercredi 4 novembre 2015 à 11h au siège d’IESF. (…)»

Lire la suite …

Informations :

Emission « La Face Cachée des Cosmétiques »- Radio Canada

« Derrière leurs nombreux mérites vantés par les messages publicitaires, la plupart des cosmétiques vendus en pharmacie cachent des éléments cancérogènes, des perturbateurs endocriniens, des plastifiants ou encore des dégraissants.

« Allez chercher quelques bouteilles dans la douche ou dans la pharmacie, et examinez-les. C’est étonnant de voir à quel point ces substances sont communes », dit la journaliste scientifique Marianne Desautels-Marissal. (…) »

Lire la Suite…

En plus des messages publicitaires sur les cosmétiques, il faut aussi prendre la peine de lire la liste des ingrédients.« En plus des messages publicitaires sur les cosmétiques, il faut aussi prendre la peine de lire la liste des ingrédients.  « 

Emission de  Sophie-Andrée Blondin, « Les éclaireurs » sur Radio Canada le 24.10.2015

Audio fil :{%22idEmission%22:%223471447%20%22,%22Date%22:%222015/10/24%22,%22numeroEmission%22:%226157%22,%22urllabase%22:%22/emissions/les_eclaireurs/2014-2015%22}

Nanoparticles in Foods Raise Safety Questions

« These microadditives enhance color, flavor and freshness. But what do they do in the body ?


Noshing on nano-Nanoparticles can make foods like jawbreaker candies brighter and creamier and keep them fresh longer. But researchers are still in the dark about what the tiny additives do once inside our bodies.

It seemed like a small thing when Paul Westerhoff’s 8-year-old son appeared, with his tongue and lips coated bright white. The boy had just polished off a giant Gobstopper, a confectionery made of sugary, melt-in-the-mouth layers. Curious about the white coating, Westerhoff, an environmental engineer, pored over the jawbreaker’s contents and discovered just how incredibly small the matter was.

Among the Gobstopper’s ingredients were submicroscopic particles of titanium dioxide, a substance commonly added to plastics, paint, cosmetics and sunscreen. At the time, Westerhoff’s lab group at Arizona State University was actively tracking the fate of such particles in municipal wastewater systems across the nation.

Titanium dioxide is also a food additive approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Ground to teensy particles measuring just tens of billionths of a meter in size — much smaller than a cell or most viruses — titanium dioxide nanoparticles are frequently added to foods to whiten or brighten color.

Weeks after his son’s candy-coated encounter, Westerhoff went to the supermarket, pulled more than 100 products off the shelves and analyzed their contents. His findings, published in 2012 in Environmental Science & Technology, show that many processed foods contain titanium dioxide, much of it in the form of nanoparticles. Candies, cookies, powdered doughnuts and icing were among the products with the highest levels. Titanium dioxide is also found in cheese, cereal and Greek yogurt.

“I began to question why we care about things in the environment — at a few micrograms per liter in water — if we’re freely ingesting these materials,” Westerhoff says.

Titanium dioxide isn’t the only nanoingredient added to food. Various other materials, reduced to the nanoscale, are sprinkled into food or packaging to enhance color, flavor and freshness. A dash of nano will smooth or thicken liquids or extend the shelf life of some products. Scientists have designed nano-sized capsules to slip beneficial nutrients, such as omega-3 fish oil, into juice or mayonnaise, without the fishy taste.

But as scientists cook up ways to create heart-healthy mayo and fat-fighting ice cream, some are also considering the potential risks that might accompany the would-be benefits. Because of their small size, ingested nanoparticles may interact with cells or behave differently than their bulkier counter-parts. So far, less-than-perfect laboratory studies offer contradictory results.

Researchers, including those developing nanofoods, say more information is needed on the ingredients’ potential impacts. Current studies, limited to mice or lab dishes, often analyze megadoses of particles far beyond what any normal diet would include. Scientists need a better handle on what happens when people nosh on nanolaced foods daily, taking in small doses at a time, says Ohio State University pathologist James Waldman. He and others are devising tests to find out.

A pinch of nano

Over the last two decades, nano-sized components — smaller than 100 nanometers — have found their way into a wide range of products: clothing, electronics and cosmetics as well as food. But people have been exposed to, and have inevitably ingested, nanoparticles for much longer, says Andrew Maynard, director of the Arizona State University Risk Innovation Lab in Tempe. Since prehistoric times, people have been consuming nanoparticles found in natural foods such as milk (casein micelles, for example, are nano-sized particles that help calves readily digest their mother’s milk). Nanoparticles also creep into the food supply from environmental sources. Burning wood, oil and coal; wildfires; volcanic activity; and crashing of ocean waves release ultrasmall particles of metal, carbon or silica into the atmosphere and into the food chain.

Even with this long history of nanoparticle exposure, Maynard says, it’s highly unlikely that people had been eating the kinds of particles added to foods today. The distinction is important, he says. “Our bodies have always been exposed to nanoparticles, but they’re now being exposed to different types. We just need to make sure that our bodies can deal with the ones we’re putting in food.”

What makes particles different today is not only their size, but also their specificity. The amino acids and proteins that coat a nanoparticle determine its shape and surface properties, which can enhance or reduce the particle’s propensity to bind to certain molecules. By fine-tuning surface features, scientists can control where or how quickly nanoparticles release their contents.

So far, only a few nanoingredients are added directly to foods or packaging: Titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide and zinc oxide are the most common. Larger versions of these ingredients have been used in food and medicines for decades and are considered “generally recognized as safe” by the FDA, which requires that any substance added to food be evaluated for safety.

Unexpected interactions

Scientists have developed numerous ways to test the safety of substances that go into food, but most of the tests were designed decades ago, before ingredients began to go nano. Titanium dioxide, for example, was evaluated in the late 1960s, using particles larger than 100 nanometers. Human cells were exposed to the substance to test for toxic effects and to work out how much of it can be safely consumed.

But those safety tests may not apply to some nano-substances. Size and surface features can improve or impair a nanoparticle’s ability to enter cells. Some nanoparticles — including those considered safe by the FDA — interact with cells in odd or unexpected ways, according to several recent studies.

One study, published in April in the journal Small, examined the effects of silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide on cells taken from the human intestinal lining. At high doses — higher than most people would ordinarily consume — all three nanoparticle types damaged DNA, proteins and lipids in the cells. Zinc oxide proved to be the most toxic. Lower levels of exposure to nanozinc oxide impaired certain proteins, such as those that help cells repair DNA damage; higher levels of the substance led to cell death.

Though it’s not yet clear if nanoparticles of these types would have toxic effects in the human gut, Gretchen Mahler of Binghamton University in New York says the findings show the difficulty of classifying a particular type of nanoparticle as toxic or safe. Many studies, she says, expose cells to very high levels of nanoparticles, focusing on the effects of a few large exposures or looking for signs of extreme cellular stress or cell death. She questions whether those safety tests are appropriate for nanomaterials.

Mahler’s lab group aims to pin down nanoparticles’ more subtle effects on the intestine using amounts that a person might consume in a single meal or day. Rather than just examining whether the cells exposed to nanoparticles are alive or dead, she evaluates whether they function the same way as unexposed cells.

In a series of experiments, Mahler set out to see what happens in the gut after a steady stream of small doses, the kind you’d get if you were eating nanoparticle-enriched foods daily. Working with scientists at Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she developed a three-dimensional model of the intestinal tract, composed of the various cells that line the human gut. The scientists tracked the effects of polystyrene nanoparticles on the cells and on the intestinal linings of live chickens. Though polystyrene, a polymer, is not used in food products, Mahler says the particles were ideal for testing because they can fluoresce, making them easy to track once swallowed.

The results, published in 2012 in Nature Nanotechnology, showed that small doses of the polystyrene nanoparticles created changes in the fingerlike projections that cover the surfaces of the intestine-lining cells. These tiny structures, called villi, are important for absorbing nutrients. After initial ingestion of nanoparticles, iron absorption dropped by almost 50 percent. But in chickens fed over a period of two weeks, iron absorption rose about 200 percent. Over time, the villi became larger, allowing more iron to enter the bloodstream.

Mahler’s lab used the same approach to study how nanoparticles of titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide influence nutrient absorption in human cells in the lab. Preliminary results from the studies, presented in March at the Society of Toxicology annual meeting in San Diego, indicate that titanium dioxide nanoparticles in the gut change the way iron is absorbed, and silicon dioxide nanoparticles alter zinc absorption. Mahler’s group is working to piece together the mechanism by which these nanoparticles disrupt absorption in the small intestine.

Down the hatch

Most studies of nanoparticles in food focus on the gastrointestinal tract — the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. Waldman’s group at Ohio State is tracking the fate of nanoparticles once they’re swallowed to see if they travel beyond the gut. In February, the researchers showed that nanoparticles force-fed to mice can reach the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain and spleen. Details were published in the International Journal of Nanomedicine.

“Particles are getting into the bloodstream, and once they’re there, they can go to any other organ,” Waldman says.

Fluorescent nanoparticles (green) force-fed to mice found their way beyond the stomach (top) to the kidneys (center) and brain (bottom).

The findings were not entirely a surprise, he says. In earlier research, in animals fed different types of nanoparticles, the particles were later detected in organs. But previous studies relied only on crude methods, removing organs and digesting them in acid to look for the tiny particles.To see where nanoparticles accumulate in live animals, Waldman’s group created a nanoparticle filled with quantum dots that fluoresce (SN: 7/11/15, p. 22). Working with Ohio State chemist Prabir Dutta, Waldman’s group designed particles with outer shells nearly identical to a food-grade nanosilicon dioxide. Because the surface of the particle is what interacts with a cell, the scientists buried the fluorescent molecules inside the silica shell. By doing so, they could ensure that it was silicon dioxide — not the fluorescent tag — interacting with the cell.

The method allowed the scientists to see where the material goes once it enters the body and then count the number of particles actually absorbed. Waldman says that knowing the path that tiny nanoparticles take is essential for settling questions about their potential risk and impact on human health. Scientists need to know, for example, if a particle will be absorbed into the bloodstream and where it will travel. They also need to know if it will stay or be cleared.

Waldman’s group plans to incorporate the fluorescent nanoparticles into the mice’s chow so they consume them regularly in their food. Every few weeks, the scientists will run tests to see where the particles accumulate and assess the animals’ tissues for inflammatory responses and nanoparticle-associated injury. The study will include newly pregnant animals to determine if the particles from food reach cells in the developing fetus.

Chew on this

The FDA has not erected new hoops for food manufacturers that use nanoparticles. Requests to use a food ingredient at the nanometer scale are subject to the same safety requirements applied to other food additives, according to FDA press officer Megan McSeveney. Manufacturers must demonstrate that the substance is safe under the conditions of its intended use.

In June 2014, the agency issued guidelines that go only as far as advising manufacturers to consult with the government before launching nanotechnology products.

So food scientists who are developing futuristic applications are scrambling to assess the safety of their downsized substances. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, food scientist David Julian McClements is creating nanoparticles using natural ingredients, such as casein micelles from milk or plant proteins, to encapsulate everything from vitamins and antioxidants to omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.

Once they create a new particle, McClements and colleagues run a gamut of tests to see how the particle reacts in cells in the lab and in mice. Because the nanoparticles he studies are made from ingredients normally found in the human diet, the particles tend to break down during digestion in ways similar to foods. Such particles are expected to be safer than particles made of nonbiodegradable materials, such as titanium dioxide, McClements says. Still, such tests are needed before bringing new foods to the market.

Waldman and Mahler say that to realistically reflect what is happening with people, scientists need to conduct long-term studies, in both animals and people. By feeding animals low doses of a particle over several months’ time, researchers should be able to spot potential problems.

“I would study the animal’s overall health. If something specific is found, then you can zero in on that particular effect, that organ, that system,” Waldman says.

Ultimately, epidemiological studies — designed to track peoples’ intake of nanoparticle-laced foods over extended periods of time — would be most informative, the scientists say. The ideal would be to track large groups of people who consume many foods containing nanoparticles and those who eat fewer nanoparticles, monitoring their health over months or years.

Waldman says studies should include individuals with intestinal diseases and pregnant women — groups that could be more vulnerable to any potential effects. People who have inflammatory bowel disease — in which the intestinal wall is “leaky” — may be at higher risk of nanoparticles getting into circulation and reaching other tissues, he says.

Meanwhile, scientists agree that, based on studies to date, the nanofoods found on supermarket shelves are probably safe to eat — when consumed at “typical” quantities. A few nanolaced cookies probably won’t do harm.

Waldman says he doesn’t avoid eating foods containing nanoparticles. Westerhoff, whose son devoured the Gobstopper, agrees. Food nanotechnology actually makes food better, he says, “giving chocolate a smooth, creamy texture or preventing dry ingredients from clumping.”

Still, skeptical consumers, who cannot always find nanoparticles listed on ingredient labels, want to be assured that the additives are safe. While nanotechnology offers new ways of transforming the features of food, creating safer, more nutritious fare, McClements says, scientists must find ways to demonstrate the safety of new types of nanoparticles before they are brought to market. “As with any new technology, you have to be cautious about how you use it and understand what’s going on.”

This article appears in the October 31, 2015, Science News with the headline, « Noshing on nano: The tiny particles in what we eat raise big questions. »

Ciel, Öko-Institut and Ecos Make Joint Proposals on Nano

« Characterising nanoparticles is key, say bodies.

Proposed REACH annex amendments for nanomaterials need more detail, according to a position paper by the Centre for International Environmental Law (Ciel), the European Environmental Citizens Organisation for Standardisation (Ecos) and the German Öko-Institut.

As pressure grows for the European Commission to revise REACH annexes for nanomaterials, the paper discusses the Commission’s proposed amendments, as presented to the competent authorities’ sub-group on nanomaterials (CASG-nano) in 2014 .

The organisations welcome the inclusion of a nano definition in REACH Annex VI. However, they point out that proposals for characterising nanoforms only cover minimum requirements. “Important information is missing”, including particle-size distribution outside of the 1nm to 100nm range, says the paper.

Surface chemistry and charge, and whether particles form clumps and clusters, during use and release, should also be considered, it adds. It also points out that information on surface treatment, coating or functionalisation remains “extremely limited”, despite being relevant for risk assessment.

The position paper refers to a 2014 study by Risk and Policy Analysts (RPA), pointing to a lack of nanoform information in registration dossiers.

Last week, Geert Dancet, head of Echa, said that 40% of dossier compliance check decisions are currently appealed and that some companies are even challenging the premise that REACH covers nanoforms.

Ciel and partners suggest that physico-chemical and (eco-)toxicological information should be included in registration dossiers, when nanoforms are used in consumer products. “With this amendment, an important loophole regarding the risk assessment for most of the existing nanomaterials … would be closed,” they write.

Nanoparticles should be fully characterised before grouping for read-across and toxicological assessment, stresses the paper. “Allowing the grouping for (eco)toxicological assessment of non-characterised nanoforms would defeat the purpose of most of the proposed amendments,” it says. “It is scientific nonsense to group several uncharacterised materials for the purpose of hazard assessment.”

At its 15th meeting on 4-7 November, the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) will discuss a progress report on physical-chemical properties for grouping for read-across. It will also wrap up case studies on exposure assessment for gold and silver nanoparticles.

The main focus of the meeting will be to plan the WPMN’s programme of work for 2017 to 2020. To help with this, the working party will hear presentations from various delegations, explaining particular policy challenges, said chair Peter Kearns.

At the meeting, the WPMN will also begin to review the OECD Council recommendation on the safety of nanomaterials, last agreed in 2013.

CASG-nano’s last meeting was in December 2014 . « 

Article of Emma Davies
Position paper :
RPA report, 2014 :

Cet article n’engage que son auteur/ This article is the sole responsibility of the author