Publication Details

S. M. Solaiman, J. Algie, S. Bakand, R. Sluyter, V. Sencadas, M. Lerch, X. Huang, K. Konstantinov & P. J. Barker, 'Nano-sunscreens – a double-edged sword in protecting consumers from harm: viewing Australian regulatory policies through the lenses of the European Union' (2019) 49 (2) Critical Reviews in Toxicology 122-139.


Nanotechnology has the potential to bring about revolutionary changes in manufacturing products, including sunscreens. However, a knowledge gap between benefits and detriments of engineered nano-materials used in sunscreens exists, which gives rise to safety concerns. This article is concerned with the protection of consumers without impairing the embellishment of this promising technology. It is widely argued that the harm associated with nano-sunscreens may only occur under certain conditions related mainly to users skin vulnerability, which can be avoided by informed and careful use of such a product. We thus recognize the need for fostering the growth of nanotech simultaneously with preventing potential harm. We revisit the Australian sunscreens regulatory policies, which embrace a "wait and see" approach, through the lens of regulatory policies in the European Union (EU) that are influenced by a "precautionary principle." We highlight the importance of informing consumers about the sunscreen they are using and recommend that product labels should disclose the presence of nano-ingredients in line with the EU disclosure requirements. This will allow users to carefully apply the product in order to avoid any potential harm and to protect manufacturers from possible costly litigation in future. This can be achieved through a combined collaborative effort of regulators, supply chain entities, and end users.



Link to publisher version (DOI)