For the first time, researchers have shown that nanoparticles can cross the human placenta, meaning that they could be transferred from mothers to unborn babies. The study showed that plastic nanoparticles up to 240nm in size crossed a human placenta (taken from mothers immediately after giving birth). The study is particularly significant given earlier mice studies (see our discussion here) showed that nanoparticles can harm the development of the brains and reproductive systems of unborn mice.
In Australia’s first nanotechnology protest, Friends of the Earth Australia took its concerns about L’Oréal’s use of unsafe, untested nanoparticles to the catwalk of the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival. L’Oréal, the world’s biggest cosmetics company, is one of the top nanotechnology patent holders in the United States and the major sponsor of the fashion festival in Melbourne. FOEA campaigners held banners that read “Nano in cosmetics? Unsafe, unlabelled, unwanted!” and “Go nano-free L’Oréal, because we’re worth it”.
Macquarie University’s Professor Brian Gulson reported last week that isotope-labelled zinc from nano-sunscreens penetrates healthy adult skin and reaches the blood stream and urine of human test subjects. The study results undermine the Therapeutic Goods Administration’s claim that nano-sunscreens will stay on the outer layers of dead skin. FOEA repeats its calls for the national sunscreen regulator to close legal gaps that leave Australian nano-sunscreens untested, unlabelled and effectively unregulated.