A year ago, Friends of the Earth launched a complaint against the companies Antaria and Ross Cosmetics for supposedly misleading consumers.
The organization found that the company’s claims were not made in trade and commerce, and also that there was not a sufficient definition of nano materials under Australian law for the complaint to be upheld.
In a comment to FOTE, the regulatory body noted: “there is no credible evidence that sunscreens containing nanoparticles pose a health risk.”
Antaria’s non-executive chairman Rade Dudurovic stated regarding the decision: “It’s vindicated what we’ve always said. At no time did Antaria mislead the markt, mislead consumers or mislead its distributers.”
Free from nanomaterials?
Dudurovic says that Antaria has always abided by the standard definition of nanoparticle in Australia, which recently changed from being defined by reference to particle size to being defined by reference to sub-particle size.
The ACCC’s rejection of the claim rests on the fact that the definition of nano particles in sunscreen is not fixed or firmly established under Australian law.
Most authorities on the issue, including the Australian TGA and the American FDA, have concluded that there is no firm evidence that harm can be caused to consumers by nanoparticles in personal care products.
Environmental lobby groups such as Friends of the Earth, which lodged the original complaint which led to the investigation, have criticized the ACCC’s decision, considering it to be based on a legislative technicality.
In a statement, FOTE commented: “The ACCC has refused to take action against two sunscreen ingredient manufacturers, Antaria and Ross Cosmetics, for misleading conduct, despite clear evidence that the two companies sold nanomaterials as ‘non nano’ and ‘nanoparticle free.’
“The ACCC has attempted to justify its refusal to act by claiming that there is no regulatory definition of nanomaterial in Australia. However, both Antaria and Ross’s products are considered nanomaterials under relevant Australian, European and International ISO definitions.”