Further to the release of our anonymous consumer survey of 140 sunscreen and cosmetics companies, FOEA has just published our updated autumn 2010 Safe Sunscreen Guide. The guide includes information on the use of nanoparticles, chemical UV absorbers and fragrances in Australian sunscreens and cosmetics containing sunscreens. For frequently asked questions and answers about nanoparticles used in sunscreens and cosmetics, click here.
Given the concerns around the health risks of some nanoparticles, and the potential problems associated with chemical UV-absorbers, Friends of the Earth Australia recommends using a non-nano, zinc based sunscreen. Because nanotechnology is already being used without labelling in Australian sunscreens, we have produced this safe sunscreen guide to help make this choice easy for you and hope you find it useful.
To download the updated autumn 2010 guide click here.
Why is Friends of the Earth concerned about nanoparticles in sunscreens?
Some nanoparticles produce free radicals that can damage DNA and skin cells, especially with exposure to UV light
If nanoparticles are absorbed into living skin cells, they could make sun damage to our skin worse, in a worst case scenario increasing the risk of skin cancer
We do not yet know whether or not nanoparticles in sunscreens penetrate intact, healthy skin, although it seems possible they will be taken up through damaged skin. Many chemicals used in sunscreens act as ‘penetration enhancers’, which could also make skin penetration by nanoparticles more likely
Nanoparticles are not subject to safety testing before being allowed in sunscreen
Nanoparticles in sunscreens are not subject to mandatory labelling. This is especially a problem for people with skin conditions such as eczema, who may be more vulnerable to skin penetration, who cannot choose to avoid using nano.
Thanks to FOE for this source.