Why are nanosunscreens still unlabelled and unregulated on the market?
Products with nanoparticles remain unlabeled and unregulated by our government. In 2009 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a case study on nanoscale titanium dioxide used in sunscreens, but this study did very little to generate regulations and protections for consumers. The EPA’s study was a first step towards regulating nanoparticles, however, much more needs to urgently be done in order to protect public and environmental health. (See more about the risks posed by nanosunscreens)
While regulatory agencies delay action, we are learning more and more about their flawed structures and inadequacies. A committee formed by a broad group of stakeholders, including academics, industry scientists, and government officials (The Committee on Science Integration for Decision Making) has recently brought to light evidence that EPA staff have been forced to ignore relevant science about manufactured nanomaterials and other chemicals (see more details in an article from Politics Daily).
Furthermore, none of the nanocosmetics or nanosunscreens on the U.S. market are subject to a premarket safety assessment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would require special tests for effects unique to nanoscale ingredients before being put on the shelves (FDA, 2003).
The European Union, on the other hand, has taken action to protect the public. New rules passed in Europe in March 2009 will require some nanomaterials in cosmetics and sunscreens to be labeled on the ingredients list. The regulation will also require increased safety testing for cosmetics containing nanomaterials (European Parliament, 2009). Additionally, the French Agency for Environmental and Occupational Health Safety (AFSSET) has released a report calling for the European Union’s REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) legislation to be amended in order to address the risks from manufactured nanomaterials. Furthermore, German regulators have also warned consumers not to use products that contain manufactured nanomaterials.