Responsible approach to nanotechnology

Henkel makes great efforts to ensure the safety of our products for people and the environment. Regarding the safe use of nanomaterials, we at Henkel apply the same principles as for all other raw materials. Our experts evaluate our products to identify any potential risks. The evaluations are based on recognized scientific methods resulting in a high level of safety in the production, application and disposal of our products. Our products are only approved and put on the market once their safety and compatibility have been demonstrated.

Nanomaterials are generated by applying nanotechnology. Nanotechnology (from the Greek nãnos, meaning dwarf) is a collective term used to describe a broad range of technologies devoted to the research, processing and production of devices and structures at dimensions of less than 100 nanometers. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter (10-9 m). The aim of nanotechnology is to create and use structures, devices and systems whose tiny size generates novel properties and functions.

Henkel has been investigating the field of nanotechnology for many years and generally sees innovative potential for products based on nanotechnology.

Up to now, we have marketed only a few products that contain nanomaterials. Currently, these are adhesive products and metal surface treatment products for industrial or professional use.

At EU-level, a recommendation on the definition of the term “nanomaterial” has been adopted and published. Experts are discussing suitable determination methods for nanomaterials with regard to this definition. We are taking part in these discussions with our own experts. In order to be able to form an opinion on which substances will in future have to be defined as nanomaterials, we request our suppliers of new substances to submit their comments to us on this subject. However, without any widely recognized determination method it is very difficult for them to perform any reliable categorization.

In addition, the new European Cosmetics Regulation, now also contains a definition of nanomaterials and an obligation to declare such materials. However, here too, no standardized determination methods are available so far. Based on the currently valid definition of nanomaterials under the Cosmetics Regulation, we do not manufacture cosmetic products containing such materials today.

Our customers and consumers can count on the safety and compatibility of Henkel products and technologies, including those based on nanotechnology.

July 2013