Friends of the Earth protests against the unsafe use of nanoparticles in L'Oréal cosmetics

Friends of the Earth today took its concerns about L’Oréal’s use of unsafe, untested nanoparticles to the catwalk of the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Media Release

Friends of the Earth protests against the unsafe use of nanoparticles in L'Oréal cosmetics

Thursday 18 March 2010

Friends of the Earth today took its concerns about L'Oréal's use of unsafe, untested nanoparticles to the catwalk of the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Friends of the Earth campaigners held banners that read Nano in cosmetics? Unsafe, unlabelled, unwanted! and Go nano-free L'Oréal, because we're worth itâ€.

The group were photographed by many of the fashion enthusiasts at the public runway event, and handed out copies of its “Safe Sunscreen Guide”, that lists products manufactured by L'Oréal as “use nano”, to interested passers-by.

“Today we’re bringing our concerns about the unsafe use of nanotechnology by the beauty industry to the catwalks of the L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival”, said Friends of the Earth Australia nanotechnology spokesperson Georgia Miller.

"L'Oréalis not only the world’s biggest cosmetics company, it is also a champion of nanotechnology’s use in beauty products, and one of the biggest nanotechnology patent holders in the United States,” said Ms Miller.

“The problem is that more and more scientific research is emerging that nanoparticles commonly used in cosmetics and sunscreens could present serious new health and environmental risks”.

“Ironically, one of the recipients of L'Oréal™s 2008 Women in Science Fellowships has just published a study showing that the majority of titanium dioxide nanoparticles used in sunscreens and cosmetics produce dangerous free radicals that could damage DNA and harm cells.”

“Yet today nanoparticles in cosmetics remain effectively unregulated. Companies can legally use most nanoparticles without having to do any safety testing on them, or labelling them.”

“For over five years Friends of the Earth Australia has called for a halt to sales of nano-products until legal gaps are closed, and regulations are introduced to ensure safety and public choice.”

“Yet despite the mounting body of research showing that many nanoparticles in commercial use can pose serious new risks, there has been no change to laws, while the number of nano-products on sale just continues to grow.”

“There is increasing unhappiness about the government’s failure to manage nanotechnology in the public interest. Without action soon it seems likely that protests such as this will become more frequent. It is also likely that the nano-industry will face an erosion of public confidence.”

"L'Oréal has gotten a huge amount of positive publicity out of this week’s fashion festival. It’s time for it and other nano-companies to be held to account for the industry’s poor record on safety and public transparency,” concluded Ms Miller.

For comment: Georgia Miller 0437 979 402