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HEALTH & HEALIN G


HE A L TH & HEA L IN G


nology, the science of the very well known for the hype


ed with its fast introduction expected corners of our lives. To rs it is also notorious for a nearly of regulation, labelling and


fety testing. One widely used s titanium dioxide. onal form, this chemical has and is used in a range of


ducts. Increasingly, it is being he nano scale, and according ists this presents definite, but


e, risks. sed is its use in many sunscreen g with nano-scale zinc oxide. its major advantage is that it sible light. Unlike in the EU and, where nano sunscreens o be labelled, in Australia the oods Administration (TGA)


ire this. Instead, the TGA is t ‘nano-free’ claims might imply


ducts are unsafe, and prohibits statement on both packaging websites. ly, Friends of the Earth (FoE)


16 NOVEMBER 2014


Nano Titanium Dioxide


you could be eating it & wearing it by Martin Oliver


Even if nanoparticles were conclusively shown to be safe for human health, which is highly unlikely, a free market would permit consumers to decide whether or not to buy products that contain them. This does not happen in Australia.


supported by a 2011 Swiss-French study that concludes that its inflammatory action in the lungs is similar to that of asbestos. If this is correct, the full extent of the health damage may only emerge after a long time lag.


Given all of these findings, it is concerning that nano titanium dioxide is now being used in a range of products, including:


D Spray-on sunscreens, where inhalation is a potential risk.


Other uses include coating glass (for ease of cleaning), coating mirrors (to prevent fogging), coating tiles (as a disinfectant), and in plastics. Inevitably, the risks will be magnified for


workers who are required to use this form of titanium dioxide on the job. Authorities in the US and Canada have already dubbed it as a ‘potential occupational carcinogen’. Also unknown is the effects of these


particles as they enter the environment, ending up in waterways, sewerage systems


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