Des nanoparticules cancérigènes retrouvées dans de célèbres sucreries

Le magazine 60 millions de consommateurs a découvert des additifs sous forme de nanoparticules dans des sucreries sans que ce soit spécifié. Et s’inquiète des effets potentiels pour la santé.

Infiniment petits et potentiellement toxiques : des additifs sont présents sous forme de nanoparticules dans des sucreries sans que ce soit spécifié, dénonce le magazine60 Millions de consommateurs, qui s’inquiète des effets pour la santé et accuse les industriels d’opacité. Cet avertissement du magazine (publication de l’Institut national de la consommation, un établissement public indépendant) sur ces nanoparticules résonne comme un écho aux alertes déjà lancées par le passé par un certain nombre d’ONG. Cible des tests pratiqués dans son enquête, l’additif E171 ou dioxyde de titane est composé en partie de nanoparticules. Il est utilisé communément dans l’industrie agroalimentaire et cosmétique pour blanchir et intensifier la brillance de confiseries, plats préparés et même des dentifrices.

10% à 100 % de l’additif présent sous forme nano

Des propriétés optimisées sous la forme nano, 50.000 fois plus petite qu’un cheveu, laquelle pose en revanche question pour la santé parce qu’elle passe plus facilement les barrières physiologiques, selon l’association. « On sait que les nanoparticules, du fait de leur toute petite taille, peuvent passer la barrière intestinale et se retrouver dans différents organes, comme le foie, le coeur, les poumons, et on ne sait pas encore ce qu’elles peuvent devenir », a expliqué à l’AFP Patricia Chairopoulos, co-auteur de l’étude, en reprochant aux industriels concernés, sinon de mentir, pour le moins de faire preuve de « manque de vigilance » et de « manque de rigueur ».

L’association des fabricants de dioxyde de titane affirmait en mars 2017 que cet additif n’était « pas utilisé comme nanoparticule dans les aliments ». Pourtant, sur 18 produits sucrés, et destinés notamment aux enfants, testés par 60 Millions de consommateurs, du dioxyde de titane sous forme de nanoparticules a été retrouvé systématiquement, mais dans des proportions variées : il représentait de 10% à 100% de l’additif présent dans ces différentes sucreries, parfois célèbres, des biscuits Napolitain de Lu (12%) aux gâteaux glacés Monoprix Gourmet (100%), en passant par les M&M’s (20%).

Des lésions pré-cancéreuses chez le rat

Une fois encore, la présence d’E171 apparaît clairement sur les étiquettes, mais jamais la mention nanoparticules, selon le magazine, qui rappelle pourtant qu’un règlement européen sur l’information du consommateur (Inco) contraint théoriquement les fabricants à apposer la mention « nano » avant le nom de l’ingrédient concerné. « On ne sait pas grand-chose sur cette forme nano. C’est ça qui nous pose problème, d’autant plus qu’une étude récente de l’Inra est parue en janvier 2017, qui entraîne un peu de suspicion », a-t-elle expliqué.

L’Anses (Agence nationale de Santé) a en effet été saisie en janvier par les ministères de l’Economie, de la Santé et de l’Agriculture pour déterminer si ce produit « présente un éventuel danger pour les consommateurs », après la publication d’une étude de l’Inra concluant que l’exposition chronique au E171 favorisait la croissance de lésions pré-cancéreuses chez le rat. Cette étude ne permettait pas une extrapolation à l’homme, avait indiqué un auteur de l’étude de l’Inra. Une évaluation par l’agence du cancer de l’OMS (Circ/Iarc) avait conduit à classer le dioxyde de titane comme cancérogène possible pour l’homme en cas d’exposition professionnelle par inhalation, avait toutefois rappelé l’Inra.

Huit ONG ont, le 17 juillet 2017, adressé une lettre ouverte au gouvernement français demandant « la mise en place urgente de mesures de précaution », avec notamment l’interdiction temporaire des nanoparticules présentes dans le colorant E171. En juin 2016 déjà, l’ONG Agir pour l’environnement avait alerté sur la présence de nanoparticules, dont le dioxyde de titane, dans de nombreux produits alimentaires, notamment dans plus d’une centaine de confiseries où ils n’étaient pas signalés sur les étiquettes. Des appels finalement peut-être pas si vains, à en croire Mme Chairopoulos, qui affirme qu’une enquête « à grande échelle » est actuellement menée par les services de la répression des fraudes. Contactés, ces derniers n’ont pas donné suite aux appels de l’AFP.

Source: sciencesetavenir

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