Zinc oxide (CI 77947) is authorised as a colorant by entry 144 of Annex IV to the Cosmetics Regulation. The Scientific Committee for Consumer Safety (SCCS) carried out a review for both nano zinc oxide and non-nano zinc oxide and was asked to give their view on zinc oxide (ZnO) as a colorant. The SCCS concluded:
In view of the similar toxicity of both nano-sized and fine ZnO, it is considered that ZnO is safe when used as colorant in cosmetics for dermal application. However, In view of the lung inflammation induced by ZnO particles after inhalation, the use of ZnO in cosmetic products that may result in exposure of the consumer’s lungs by inhalation is of concern.
The commission is proposing to restrict the use of zinc oxide as a colorant to the applications that do not result in exposure of the end-user's lungs by inhalation. The provisions would apply six months after publication for placing on the market and nine months for withdrawal from market of non-compliant stock.
The public consultation is open for comments until 24 December 2015.