Rachel CarbonellTONY EASTLEY: Europe and the United states have now become embroiled in the controversy over allegations that an Australian manufacturer of sunscreen ingredients falsely claimed its products were free of controversial nano-materials.
The Australian manufacturer in question exports to both the US and Europe.
Europe's certification body says it will now conduct its own scientific tests on the product.
Rachel Carbonell reports.
RACHEL CARBONELL: Last week the ABC revealed that a number of sunscreen brands may have been inadvertently promoting themselves as nano-free after they were allegedly misled by their suppliers.
In two separate complaints to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission it's alleged companies falsely promoted their product as non-nano.One of those companies Antaria exports its product overseas to the United States and Europe.
Alexandra Caterbow is from the chemicals and health division of the Environmental NGO Women in Europe for a Common Future.
ALEXANDRA CATERBOW: We are very worried because so far there are not so many sunscreens on the market saying that they are nano-free. And people, consumers, are looking out especially for those sunscreens.
And if we have now proved that probably we cannot trust them consumers are very doubtful. They don't know what to buy now. And so far we have no information if those companies use the same practice here in Europe.
RACHEL CARBONELL: Antaria's zinc oxide product is certified as not nano by the European organic certification body Ecocert.
Head of the cosmetics department at Ecocert Emilie Cherhal says the organisation is concerned by the allegations and is conducting its own investigation into the claims.
EMILIE CHERHAL: We get information in the last few days. So we are investigating and we will shortly take a decision.
RACHEL CARBONELL: Ecocert says it has asked for clarification from Antaria but will conduct its own tests on the product and if those tests show it to contain nano-materials it will lose its certification.
EMILIE CHERHAL: If we find out that this raw material is nano then we will withdraw the raw material for the website list and we will prohibit the use of this raw material in the Ecocert certified organic cosmetics.
RACHEL CARBONELL: A number of European sunscreen brands use the product and Ecocert says if the allegations are true those brands will have to reformulate to maintain their certification.
Louise Sales is a nanotechnology campaigner from Friends of the Earth.
LOUISE SALES: We've provided evidence to Ecocert that Antaria's ZinClear-IM product is a nano-material and therefore it shouldn't have been accredited by Ecocert in the first place.
RACHEL CARBONELL: She says it's further evidence that nano-materials should be labelled and regulated.
LOUISE SALES: It is pretty clear that we can't rely on companies to provide accurate information about what ingredients are in their products which is why we really need the mandatory safety testing and labelling of nano-materials in cosmetics and sunscreens.
RACHEL CARBONELL: So far calls for labelling have been rejected in Australia.
The industry regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration says the current weight of evidence is that nanoparticles in sunscreens don't penetrate the skin.
TONY EASTLEY: Rachel Carbonell.
Fonte: ABC News