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Controversial Nano-Ingredients found in Big Name Brands

Scientific testing commissioned by Friends of the Earth Australia and carried out by the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility has found:

• Concealers, foundations and mineral foundations sold by 8 leading brands contained particles measuring less than 100nm in size (Clinique, Clarins, L’Oréal,Revlon, The Body Shop, Max Factor, Lancôme Paris and By Terry)

• A further 2 products contained particles that measured 100nm (Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Dior)

Furthermore, Friends of the Earth has found:

• 7 of the cosmetics tested contained ingredients known to act as ‘penetration enhancers’, making it more likely that nanoparticles will be taken up into the ski.

• The 3 cosmetics that did not contain penetration enhancers were mineral foundations, which pose greater inhalation risks due to their powdered form.

• Only one of the brands surveyed (Christian Dior) indicated the use of nanoingredients on the product label. Failing to label nano-ingredients denies consumers the capacity to make an informed choice

What is Nanoparticals?

Nanoparticles are extremely small particles manufactured using nanotechnology. Nanoparticles are generally defined as measuring around 1-100 nanometres (nm) in one or more dimensions (70 times smaller than a red blood cell). Nanoparticles are now used in Worlds cosmetics, sunscreens, ‘health’ supplements, clothing, appliances and more.

Does it safe to use NonoParticals?

The long-term health risks of nanoparticles remain poorly understood. The likely exposure in ‘real life’ conditions is also unknown. But early studies have suggested that if exposure is high enough, nanoparticles now used by the cosmetics industry could cause lung damage, cell toxicity, damage DNA, and possibly even harm unborn children.

Production of free radicals by nanoparticles used in sunscreens and cosmetics is greater when exposed to UV light. Last year, in relation to nano-sunscreens, the director of CSIRO’s Nanosafety research program warned and Report that: “the worst case
scenario, I suspect, could be development of cancer. But we do not know. That is what we are trying to find out”. Dr McCall cautioned that CSIRO’s research will take another two years.

Whats Actions are taken for Nanoparticals by Law?

In 2004, the United Kingdom’s Royal Society, the world’s oldest scientific institution, recommended that given the evidence of serious nanotoxicity risks, nanoparticles should be treated as new chemicals and subject to new safety assessments before being
allowed in consumer products. It also recommended that nano-ingredients in products should be labelled, to give people the chance to make an informed choice.

Europe has passed new laws that will require most nano-ingredients in sunscreens cosmetics to face new safety testing and mandatory labeling. Yet where substances have been approved for use as larger particles, USA laws do not make companies test for
safety before using these substances as nanoparticles, nor to label nano-ingredients.

Results of cosmetics testing for nanoparticle content – Commissioned by Friends of the Earth Australia, carried out by the Australian Microscopy and Microanalysis Research Facility

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