A survey conducted by the Australian Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) has shown that respondents, drawn from the general public, felt they needed to know more before deciding whether sunscreens containing nanoparticles were a risk to them. Those who had indicated they had prior knowledge about the issue, however, tended to feel fairly negatively about these types of substance.
The results of the Study of public attitudes towards sunscreens with nano particles has shown that the majority of respondents (60%) had not heard any stories about 'the possible risks of using sunscreens with nanoparticles in them'; furthermore it would seem that this group consistently indicated they would need to know more before coming to any conclusions about risk.
Similarly the majority of the 'informed' group (70%) felt they understood the risk issues somewhat or less. What they had learned, however, tended to dissuade them from using nano-enhanced sunscreens in the future, with 73% indicating they did not disagree with the statement 'I am scared to use sunscreens that include nanoparticles' and 56% indicating they did not disagree with the statement, 'Not using sunscreen at all is less risky to my health than using sunscreens that include nanoparticles'. Results also indicated that 'informed' respondents felt such sunscreens were risky to their health, and definitely more risky to them than those lacking nanoparticles.
Whilst questions can be raised about the methods and results of the survey, it is clear that more needs to be done by producers of these sunscreens to allay the fears of the general public in regards to questions of health and safety.