Our tests of products
Our tests of products
By AVICENN Team – Last Modified February 2023
Context and objectives
In the first half of 2021, IKEA had withdrawn its new GUNRID “air-purifying” curtains from the market : our tests had shown the massive presence of titanium dioxide nanoparticles (suspected carcinogens for humans) on the surface of the fibers… and a lack of depolluting effectiveness.
In September 2021, we set out to launch tests on around twenty everyday consumer products, with the primary objective ofobjectify the presence (or not) of nanoparticles of concern in everyday products.
Our approach is part of the desire to make a concrete contribution to the 4th National Environmental Health Plan (PNSE 4) published in 2021, whose action 13 aims in particular to:
- improve knowledge on the use of nanomaterials
- control and expand labeling requirements for nanomaterials in everyday objects.
Launched in September 15, our investigation was conducted over XNUMX months:
- Between September and October 2021, we have defined the selection criteria products: products likely to contain nanoparticles with some of the most well-documented hazards, to cause frequent/chronic exposure, to be sold on a large scale, to affect various populations, etc.
- We have targeted products,
- by soliciting our members and subscribers,
- by realizing literature reviews (veillenanos.fr, the NanoDatabase, online sales sites > labeling, data sheets, FDS)
- Realizing scouting in supermarkets
- By soliciting public authorities, research laboratories and brands
- At the end of 2021 / beginning of 2022, we sent around twenty products to the National Metrology and Testing Laboratory (LNE).
- The tests took place between the end of 2021 and the end of August 2022 at the LNE, and the analysis report was finalized in mid-October 2022.
- AVICENN published its report "Searching for [nanos] in everyday products” on December 15, 2022. The tests reveal the presence of unlabelled, sometimes even unauthorized, nanos in 20 everyday products out of the 23 tested:
The results: nanos in 20 out of 23 products
Nanos were detected in 20 products.
Results by product category
Results by type of nanoparticles
The main findings
More nanos than expected and some new questions...
We selected products that, although not labeled “nano”, were more likely than others to contain nanos. And yet we were surprised at the high proportion of products containing nanos as well as discovering them where we did not expect it.
These results question the extent of the use of nanos in everyday products and show the relevance – and even the need – of using existing new tools and going off-the-beaten track by looking for nanos in commonly used items.
[Nano] labelling assessment: a real fiasco!
The results show the failure of [nano] labelling.
None of the products in which we detected nanos are labeled [nano], even though the majority of them are covered by theEuropean “nano” labeling obligation which has prevailed for almost ten years for cosmetics, food products and biocidal products.
The presence of nanos in other product categories also highlights the need to extend the [nano] labeling obligation to product categories which are unfortunately still not covered nowadays.
Many unauthorized nanos
Our tests have also revealed, to an unsuspected extent, the fact that unauthorized nanos are commonly used. This is particularly the case in cosmetics and hygiene and health products.
AVICENN requests in a nutshell
Due to the health and environmental risks associated with nanomaterials, AVICENN makes three demands at the end of the report:
1 – improving knowledge on commercialized nanomaterials, in particular thanks to the improvement of the r-nano register (ten years after its creation, this register remains a real sieve) and the establishment of a European register of products containing nanos ; better assessing their risks, by involving companies who import, produce or use it;
2 – increasing transparency on these nanomaterials with, among other things, the intensification of controls and sanctions in the event of non-compliance with legal obligations (whether in terms of labelling, registration, and/or authorisation);
3 – developing collective vigilance on nanos with in particular the implementation of a generalized obligation to assess the benefit/risk ratio and the collective utility of nanomaterials BEFORE their commercialization. It is also urgent to implement specific measures concerning nanos that escape the new European recommendation for the definition of the term “nanomaterial” : due to the announced transposition of the latter into the regulation governing cosmetics and the “novel foods” under review, the risk is great indeed that many nanos come out of the radar of public authorities !
They talk about our investigation
- European and international press: ChemicalWatch, RFI, BBN World News, Food Navigator, California 18, the buoy, Il Ssusidario, Psychomedia, RTBF, ...
- National media: France Inter (the 7am journal of December 15), France web info, radio et TV, Le Monde, Que Choisir, 60 millions de consommateurs , Libération, La Tribune , 20 Minutes, Le Figaro, Les Echos, La Croix, L'Express, BFM, Econetwork, Syndicalisme Hedbo , Novethic, Reporterre, GEO, Planet, AllôDocteurs, Santé Magazine, Ca m’intéresse, Medisite, Why Doctor, Femina , Femme actuelle , Madame Figaro, Marie-Claire, ...
- Regional media: France Bleu, Ouest France, Nice Matin, Var Matin, La Dépêche , ...
At the National Assembly
Four written questions were put to the government following our tests:
- On December 27, 2022, in its written question n°4492 to the attention of the Minister of Health, the deputy Renaissance Guillaume Vuilletet invoked “the need to systematize research and the banishment of nanoparticles in everyday products”. The deputy believes that the medium and long term health risks seem largely undervalued, especially in the event of chronic exposure to products combining the presence of several nanoparticles in large quantities, such as certain cosmetic products”. Mr. Vuilletet underlines further that that “the precautionary principle is essential: the exposure of consumers to nanomaterials must be clearly limited as long as their harmlessness has not been demonstrated”. He questions the minister on his desire to"intensify controls and penalties for companies that do not comply with thelabeling requirement and the relevance of implementing the AVICENN recommendation, which proposes that manufacturers participate in the financing of independent research to better assess the risks related to nanomaterials”.
- Three other questions were subsequently asked by other MPs:
- On January 31, 2023, in its written question n°5046, Renaissance MP Karl Olive asked for a “state of play of the regulations in force and possible changes” and "the means implemented by the Ministry and the Department of Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention to better control the use of these particles and in particular titanium dioxide" as well as "means of informing the consumer about these nanoparticles, in particular via labeling".
- On February 14, 2023, in its written question n°5449, Horizons MP Agnès Carel also asked to know "what provisions are planned to better control the use of these particles and in particular titanium dioxide and better inform the consumer of their presence in the products they consume".
- On February 21, 2023, in its written questions n°5701, Renaissance MP Vincent Ledoux asks the Government to “please tell him what he intends to do to better control the presence of these nanoparticles in everyday products, which constitute a worrying public health problem”.
The investigation report is also available in French
The English version of our report is now available, do not hesitate to distribute it to your English-speaking contacts who may be interested: !.
It was broadcast during the conference organized by the European NGO ECOS on February 15, 2023, entitled " Unnoticed and ungoverned: How nanomaterials are slipping through the cracks " (and relayed by One Policy Place – OPP).
A remark, a question? This sheet produced by AVICENN is intended to be supplemented and updated. Please feel free to contribute.
To go further...
The next nano appointments
- 14th meeting of the “nano and health” dialogue committee
- Organizer: ANSES
- Website : www.anses.fr
- Technical Day
- Organizer: National Metrology and Testing Laboratory (LNE)
- On the agenda: identification of nanomaterials, recent technological innovations in terms of particle size characterization, areas for progress to be considered
- Upcoming program
- Website : www.lne.fr/…
- 8th International Conference on Health Issues for a Responsible Approach to Nanomaterials
- June 5-9, 2023
- Organizer: Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies (CEA)
- Website : www.cea.fr/cea-tech/pns/nanosafe/…
Sheet initially created in January 2022