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Thematic Issue: Life Sciences: Ethics, Innovation and the Future of Law

Letting the Market Decide? The Rise – and Regulatory Risks – of the Australian Nanotechnology Industry


Paris Jeffcoat, Cary Di Lernia and Elizabeth New

In 2022, the European Union moved to ban the use of titanium dioxide as a food additive after it had been on the market for over four decades, due to safety concerns related to the additive’s nanoparticulate nature. Marking a significant backflip in the international regulatory approach to consumer products containing nano-objects, the global shifting of regulatory gears following the decision has already begun to filter through to domestic policymaking, with regulator Food Standards Australia New Zealand forced to reconsider their regulatory approach to the additive, which remains largely permissive. In view of the evolving understanding that technologies and objects at the nanoscale present new risks to humans and the environment, it is argued that a more precautionary approach should be considered by Australian regulators to fill the significant gaps in existing regulatory frameworks and safeguard stakeholders.

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(2023) 46(2) UNSWLJ 426: