The Australian government’s National Measurement Institute has released early research at the International Conference on Nanotechnology (ICONN) in Perth  that casts doubt on the nano content of popular sunscreens. This research highlights the failure of state and federal governments to regulate nano-sunscreens.

Scientists from the National Measurement Institute presented results from an unpublished study which show the presence of nanomaterials in sunscreens which have been promoted as non nano. It is understood that most of these sunscreens uses the same zinc oxide supplier.

These research results expose the absolute failure of Government to regulate to ensure we have a strong definition, mandatory safety testing and labelling for informed choice.

In this regulatory vacuum nanomaterials are not being adequately tested for and the nanotechnology industry is able to make their own rules in terms of what constitutes a nanomaterial.

The European Union currently defines a nanomaterial as as a natural or manufactured material with one or more dimensions of or less than 100nm (including aggregates or agglomerates containing material on this scale)*.
Friends of the Earth is calling for a Senate Inquiry into the Australian Government’s mishandling of the regulation of nanotechnology.

Friends of the Earth is recalling the summer 2011-2012 Safe Sunscreen Guide until it can be revised accordingly.

*The EU definition of a nanomaterial is “a natural, incidental or manufactured material containing particles, in an unbound state or as an aggregate or as an agglomerate and where, for 50% or more of the particles in the number size distribution, one or more external dimensions is in the size range 1 nm – 100 nm.”