Sunscreen safety: The precautionary principle, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and nanoparticles in sunscreens

Thomas Faunce, Katherine Murray, Hitoshi Nasu, Diana Bowman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Scopus citations


The 'Precautionary Principle' provides a somewhat ill-defined guide, often of uncertain normative status, for those exercising administrative decision-making power in circumstances where that may create potential risks to human health or the environment. This paper seeks to explore to what extent the precautionary principle should have been and was in fact utilised 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 considered to be functionally equivalent to their bulk counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-240
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2008



  • Nanoparticles
  • Precautionary principle
  • Sunscreens
  • Therapeutic goods administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Philosophy
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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