Copper nanoparticles: SCCS’ opinion raises concerns for safety

In March 2021, the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) published the opinion on the use of nano copper and nano colloidal copper in cosmetics, informing that the data provided is insufficient to conclude that the use of these particles is safe.

Why is SCCS’ opinion important?

SCCS is one of the independent Scientific Committees  whose purpose is to provide expert advice to the European Commission regarding safety and health of non-food consumer products, and to draw the Commission’s attention to possible threats or problems related to those products. SCCS completes safety evaluations and issues opinions following mandates received from the European Commission. Rarely, the SCCS would also make simplified statements on the ingredients’ safety at its own initiative.

What is SCCS’ conclusion on nano copper and nano colloidal copper?

SCCS informed that the current notifications to the Cosmetic Products Notification Portal (CPNP) provide insufficient information on the safety of the nano particles. The research of physicochemical, toxicological and exposure aspects shows that there is a basis for concern of health risk to the consumers using cosmetic products containing the copper nanomaterial. Toxicity assessments presented upon notifications of cosmetic products usually relate to non-nano copper and the absence of full study reports impedes the conclusion on the nanomaterial’s.

What raises concerns is that the literature research suggests that a systemic uptake of copper nanoparticles may lead to accumulation in organs. Furthermore, there is an indication of potential mutagenic and toxic effects. As a consequence, cosmetic products containing nano copper as currently notified to CPNP may pose a health risk to the consumers, due to insufficient evidence on its safety.

In conclusion, more evidence needs to be presented to support the safety claims of copper and colloidal copper nanomaterials, especially regarding the potential toxicity. The SCCS already informed it is open to assess the ingredients’ safety, if more substantial studies, information, and evidence are provided.

Kateřina Švambergová


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  • SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) (05/03/2021). Opinion on Copper (nano) and Colloidal Copper (nano SCCS/162/2020. Retrieved on 23/04/2021 from

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