made with nanoparticles may cause serious bodily harm, a report from Friends
of the Earth has warned.
need to know that manufactured nanoscale zinc and titanium oxides are not
the only choice and are not necessarily the most effective or safest choice
for sun protection," the report reads.
sunscreens now contain nanoscale particles of titanium dioxide or zinc oxide,
roughly 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The only reason
for using nanotechnology is to make the sunscreens less oily and easier
to rub into the skin.
titanium dioxide and zinc oxide have long been used in sunscreens and are
considered relatively safe, the normal rules no longer apply to matter on
the nano scale.
report, Friends of the Earth cites six recent studies indicating that zinc
oxide nanoparticles can penetrate healthy human skin to reach the blood
and urine, kill brain stem cells in mice, and destroy colon cells in even
minute concentrations. They also cite studies finding that nanoscale titanium
dioxide can produce gene changes in pregnant mice and has been linked to
Alzheimer's, autism and epilepsy. All nanoparticles are also capable of
crossing the placental barrier between mother and fetus.
a number of European governments have begun passing regulations mandating
labeling, testing and even bans on some nanoparticles, particularly in cosmetics,
the industry remains completely unregulated in the United States.
have the potential to cause serious human and environmental harm, but there
is nothing stopping companies from selling them," the report says.
matters worse, a recent report by the Consumers Union found that even among
sunscreens claiming to be nano-free, 80 percent still contained nanoparticles.
nanomaterials are being added without appropriate labeling or reliable safety
information, so the public has no way of making informed purchasing choices,"
said Ian Illuminato, senior health researcher for Friends of the Earth.
for consumers seeking to protect their health, the majority of sunscreens
not made with titanium or zinc oxides are also made with known carcinogens.
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