Just the other day I was looking at a sunblock with interest because the name contains the word nano. I was actually quite keen to get it but thank goodness I didn’t, especially now that I’ve read why we should avoid nano-sunscreens from Friends of the Earth.
Some manufacturers are adding nanoparticles-incredibly small particles of otherwise familiar sunscreen ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide-to products without letting customers know that they’re buying nano ingredients.
Manufactured nanoparticles present novel health and environmental risks that cannot be predicted from conventional materials. First, nanoparticles have unprecedented access to the human body. Unlike larger particles, once in the blood stream, nanoparticles have the ability to enter vital organs including the brain, heart, and liver, where they may disrupt normal cell activity. When ingested, some nanomaterials may pass through the gut wall and circulate through our blood.
Nanotechnology, as you may know, is a new science involving the manipulation of materials at the scale of atoms and molecules. Increasingly, it is being included in our beauty and personal care products to either promote better absorption or a less oily mixture when they’re broken down into nanoparticles. And what is scary is that some of these companies do not reveal that they’re using such nano ingredients at all.
So for the time being, I would say, avoid products that are being marketed as nano-engineered. While the investigations are not conclusive at this stage that nanoparticles pose health hazards, we do not want to expose ourselves to greater risks by smearing potentially harmful and untested ingredients (already there are so many) all over our bodies especially if these ingredients have the ability to go IN our bodies!