Green group campaigns against Antaria

Sunscreen ingredient manufacturer Antaria is facing a Friends of the Earth campaign over its 'incorrect' product labelling.

It campaign was revealed as the company’s share slid after a director resigned, resulting in a 17 per cent revenue decline.

Complaints by the Friends of the Earth to the securities and competition regulators over Antaria's market disclosure and the company wrongly labelling its flagship technology ‘nano- free’ led to a 9 per cent share price decline on Friday, reports the SMH.

The green group said there were concerns about whether nanotechnology in sunscreen increased the risk of skin cancer among users.

According to Antaria, its ZinClear-IM technology- a zinc oxide product which is used in dozens of sunscreens including Cancer Council and Invisible Zinc-branded ones, is non-nano and said it could not be held responsible for any changes to its product made by customers.

''If you stick 40 herbs and spices on it and it’s no longer organic, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the chicken,'' chairman Rade Dudurovic said.

Last week, Antaria announced of Dr Deborah Cooper’s resignation from its board.

Antaria reported a loss of $1.9 million for the year to June 2012.

Close to 80 per cent of the company’s $4.43 million in revenue comes from overseas countries such as Asia, the US and Europe.

Friends of the Earth’s complained to the ASX that Antaria made a mistake by not informing the European market that the region's organic certification body, Ecocert, had cancelled certification for ZinClear-IM last month.

Ecocert, which plans to ban nano-particles in certified cosmetic products in 2013 on precautionary grounds, said in a statement that it pulled certification on August 6, after failing to receive requested information from Antaria.

In Australia, the National Measurement Institute, which is within the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science and Research and which measures nanoparticles, said its study of a patent issued to Antaria fit the Australian definition of ''nanomaterial''.

''NMI does not suggest that any commercially available sunscreens are unsafe, whether or not they contain nanomaterial. Neither does NMI suggest that manufacturers are mislabelling their products,'' the institute said.

Last week, the ASX received a letter of complaint regarding Antaria and said it was ''taking the matter seriously and will respond appropriately''.