Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Jun;120(6):885-92. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1104350. Epub 2012 Mar 6.

Potential for inhalation exposure to engineered nanoparticles from nanotechnology-based cosmetic powders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, the State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, New Jersey 08901, USA.



The market of nanotechnology-based consumer products is rapidly expanding, and the lack of scientific evidence describing the accompanying exposure and health risks stalls the discussion regarding its guidance and regulation.


We investigated the potential for human contact and inhalation exposure to nanomaterials when using nanotechnology-based cosmetic powders and compare them with analogous products not marketed as nanotechnology based.


We characterized the products using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and laser diffraction spectroscopy and found nanoparticles in five of six tested products. TEM photomicrographs showed highly agglomerated states of nanoparticles in the products. We realistically simulated the use of cosmetic powders by applying them to the face of a human mannequin head while simultaneously sampling the released airborne particles through the ports installed in the mannequin's nostrils.


We found that a user would be exposed to nanomaterial predominantly through nanoparticle-containing agglomerates larger than the 1-100-nm aerosol fraction.


Predominant deposition of nanomaterial(s) will occur in the tracheobronchial and head airways--not in the alveolar region as would be expected based on the size of primary nanoparticles. This could potentially lead to different health effects than expected based on the current understanding of nanoparticle behavior and toxicology studies for the alveolar region.

Comment in

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (4)Free text

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk