One of Europe’s leading certifiers of organic and natural cosmetics, ECOCERT, has given Australian sunscreen ingredient manufacturer Antaria Limited until the end of the week to respond to allegations that its ZinClear IM product is a nanomaterial. After this, ECOCERT will conduct independent testing of the company’s product. The ultimatum follows Friends of the Earth’s revelations last week that the company has been marketing nano-sunscreen ingredients as ‘non-nano’.
Groundbreaking research by scientists from Trinity College Dublin has found that exposure to nanomaterials can have a serious health impacts, potentially causing rheumatoid arthritis and the development of other serious autoimmune diseases. The research raises serious concerns about the widespread use of nanomaterials in consumer products and the way that these substances are currently manufactured, handled and disposed of. It also illustrates the need for a mandatory register of nanomaterials, so that these substances can be tracked and appropriately handled throughout the supply chain.
For an introduction to the issue please see our fact sheet
What’s the basic story?
We have revealed that a major Perth-based sunscreen ingredient manufacturer –Antaria Limited – appears to have been misrepresenting the nano-content of the product ZinClear IM.
Another major sunscreen manufacturer –Ross Cosmetics, based in Melbourne – has also been marketing the ingredient ‘Zinc Oxide Neutral’ as nanoparticle-free to their customers.
However, it is clear from the ZinClear patent and Zinc Oxide Neutral product guide that both of these ingredients are based on clumps (aggregates and agglomerates respectively) of nanoparticles. See our factsheet for an explanation of these definitions.
In a critical first step to regulating nanomaterials, New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made it compulsory to label for nanoscale ingredients in cosmetics. Which really begs the question, why can’t Australia?
Two new alarming research studies from the United States have highlighted serious concerns about the toxicity of nano-silver to aquatic microorganisms, plants and animals – with inevitable consequences to human food sources and health.