The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian cosmetics industry body ACCORD has thrown its weight behind calls for mandatory labelling of nano-ingredients in cosmetics and sunscreens. The move increasingly isolates the national sunscreens regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which has to date rejected calls for mandatory labelling and safety testing of nano-ingredients in sunscreens.
The SMH article, which also reveals that $150 fullerene-containing cosmetics are still on sale in Australia at major department stores, is reprinted below. The original article can be accessed at: http://www.smh.com.au/national/safety-fear-over-150-face-cream-ingredient-20100905-14w4h.html
Please add your voice to calls for nano-ingredients to pass new safety testing, and to face mandatory labelling, before they can be used in sunscreens and cosmetics.
Email the Australian Health Ministers and Shadow Minister, cc’ing the Minister and Shadow Minister for Innovation, and let them know that you support:
- mandatory labelling of all nano-ingredients in sunscreens and cosmetics, as proposed by the industry body ACCORD
- full safety assessment of all nano-ingredients, before they can be used in sunscreens and cosmetics
- withdrawal from sale of nano-sunscreens and cosmetics found to pose unacceptable risks for the public, workers or the environment
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
And cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
Safety fear over $150 face cream ingredient
Melissa Singer CONSUMER AFFAIRS
September 6, 2010
DEPARTMENT stores are selling a $150 face cream that promises to reduce fine lines despite the fact the chemical regulator has not approved a key ingredient.
Dr Brandt’s Lineless cream contains fullerenes, tiny carbon nanoparticles which concern campaigners and scientists who believe they can enter the bloodstream and promote the production of free radicals, which have been linked to cancer.
Laws allow nano-sized chemical varieties to be marketed without any additional testing but the chemical regulator has ruled that fullerenes, despite being carbon molecules, require separate permits.
The Herald understands the regulator, the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, warned cosmetic companies of their obligations in 2008 but as of yesterday no permits were listed on the Australian Inventory of Chemical Substances.
The Dr Brandt cream is sold at Mecca Cosmetica, which has seven stores in Sydney including an outlet at Myer Pitt Street.
The cosmetics industry has released a proposal for new federal regulations for compulsory labelling of nanoparticles.
Accord Australasia, which represents cosmetics houses including L’Oreal and Unilever, wants the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to force companies to specify where sunscreens and cosmetics contain particles smaller than 100 nanometres.
The proposal was submitted to the government in June but a spokesman for Accord, Craig Brock, said the election impasse ”has left industry in the dark”.
Accord represents about 90 per cent of the cosmetics industry but all players will be invited to comment on the proposed legislation if it wins government support.
Mr Brock said work must start immediately to ensure the scheme was in place when new European cosmetics legislation comes into effect in July 2013.
”It’s good for industry to get on the front foot and show that we’re confident about safety issues,” he said. ”The thing to be careful of here is to assume that all nanomaterials … are unsafe. There may be some down the track that do have safety issues so we need a strong regulatory system.”
A spokeswoman for the the nanotechnology campaign group Friends of the Earth, Georgia Miller, welcomed the labelling proposal but said she would be ”worried if labelling was used in place of a comprehensive [assessment] approach”.
Companies that wanted to avoid labelling laws could reformulate their products to place them just outside the reporting range but people would still be at risk, she said.
The regulator is considering reforms to nanotechnology regulations including the removal of test exemptions for chemicals that are used in volumes smaller than 100 kilograms a year.
The Accord proposal could pit the authority, which regulates cosmetics, against the Therapeutic Goods Administration, which has argued against a need for labelling of nanoparticles on sunscreens.
The Health Department did not respond to inquiries by the Herald. Dr Brandt and Mecca Cosmetica could not be contacted yesterday.
WHAT THEY ARE
A fullerene lets molecules penetrate it and can control the release and delivery of a chemical through the skin. They are considered ”new” chemicals and companies must contact the regulator before marketing them.