A FOEA survey has found a high degree of industry secrecy regarding the use of nanoparticles in sunscreens and cosmetics. Nearly half the companies included in our anonymous consumer survey failed to give a straight answer about their use of nanoparticles, even after being told the person asking the questions used that company’s products and was concerned about health risks.

Several companies refused outright to tell their customers whether or not they use nanoparticles. Clarins, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Tropicare and Skinceuticals refused explicitly to answer questions about whether their products contain nanoparticles.

Our survey also revealed problems in the reliability of company-provided information. Jurlique, a brand marketed as ‘natural’, told the consumer that its products do contain nanoparticles, having assured Friends of the Earth in a previous survey that its products are nano-free.

Disturbingly, many companies didn’t know whether or not their products contain nanoparticles. Australis, Cover Girl, Shiseido and Target said they didn’t, or were unable to answer questions about the use of nanoparticles in their cosmetics.

The fact that big name brands do not have access to reliable information about the nano-content of their ingredients is alarming. Without this information these companies cannot take adequate measures to protect their workers from unsafe occupational exposure, or provide honest and accurate answers to the public.

Mandatory labelling of nano-ingredients is needed urgently to enable consumers and manufacturers to make informed choices.

Media coverage of our report

 

Please note: This post was written in May 2010 based on results from our anonymous consumer survey conducted in April 2010. Product nano-content may have changed since that time. For the latest information please visit our website, http://emergingtech.foe.org.au