In interviews for last night’s report on Today Tonight (Jan 3, 2012), health experts have again questioned the need for nano-ingredients in sunscreens .

“With nano-particles, rather than reflecting the ultraviolet light, they actually absorb it, and from absorbing that ultraviolet light, they produce free radicals at the surface of the nano-particle. And that could be a mechanism by which skin cancer could be produced,” dermatologist Dr Robert Salmon said.

“The smaller we make these particles, the more likelihood there is it will penetrate our skin, where they can do further damage,” said Dr Gregory Crocetti, from the Friends of the Earth Nanotechnology Project.

Cancer Council CEO Dr Andrew Penman adds “They are simply not necessary for sunscreen effect. They don’t add to the sunscreen quality.”

Dr. Salmon also warns that certain people are more at risk when wearing nano-sunscreens: “Anyone that has a decreased barrier function in the skin, nano-particles penetrate further. They’ll be people such as those that develop eczema, patients that are on certain treatments for acne”

Also more vulnerable are outdoor workers and young children who wear nano-sunscreens every day.

“Some of the studies show that with lots of flexion and movement around the joints, these nano-particles may penetrate further” he said.

Recent polling of over 1300 people commissioned by Friends of the Earth Australia and carried out by The Australia Institute reveals that 85% of Australians want nano-ingredients labelled in sunscreens.

“With 85 per cent of Australians wanting labelling,why is the Government sitting on its hands and doing nothing?” asks Dr Crocetti.