Sunscreen Safety: The Precautionary Principle, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and Nanoparticles in Sunscreens
Nanoethics, Vol. 2, pp. 231-240, July 2, 2008
10 Pages Posted: 19 May 2009 Last revised: 22 May 2009
Date Written: July 2, 2008
The ‘Precautionary Principle’ provides a somewhat ill-defined guide, often of uncertain normative status, for administrative decision makers exercising decision-making power in circumstances of potential risk to human health or the environment. This paper seeks to explore to what extent the precautionary principle should have been and was in fact utilized by the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in its decision to approve the marketing of sunscreens containing titanium dioxide (TiO2) and zinc oxide (ZnO) in nanoparticulate form. In particular, this article assesses to what extent better application of that principle might have altered the TGA’s decision that TiO2 and ZnO ENPs in sunscreens do not require new safety testing, because they are functionally equivalent to their bulk counterparts.
Keywords: nanotechnology, nanotoxicology, sunscreens, precautionary principle, regulation
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