The science is clear: oxybenzone kills coral larva at incredibly low concentrations. But until now, it’s been less clear what happens in the human body at exposures similar to those seen at your average beach or swimming pool.
Turns out, it’s not pretty.
A study published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology reviewed the impacts of oxybenzone in mammals. In this particular study, researchers exposed pregnant rats to oxybenzone via topical application at a calculated dose – correlating to how a human would use sunscreen. The oxybenzone was applied in the first seven days of pregnancy, which corresponds to the first trimester of a human pregnancy.
This research showed that the fetuses of pregnant rats were significantly underweight and the feto-placental indexes – which measures how well the fetus is provided with nutrients and oxygen – were significantly lower. These results were true in both the first pregnancy and a second pregnancy.
Additionally, there was a higher percentage of females in both pregnancies, indicating that oxybenzone is an important endocrine disrupter that can significantly affect sex ratios, and the development of male hormones.
It’s not easy to avoid oxybenzone
And closer to home, previous reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that nearly every American already has oxybenzone in their bloodstream. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) questioned the safety of oxybenzone and five other sunscreen ingredients last year (avobenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate), noting that they were absorbed and concentrated in the bloodstream at concentrations far greater than it would predict as safe.
Prior to the controversial sunscreen provision of the CARES act, those ingredients were rescinded from the “Generally Recognized as Safe and Effective” list – or GRASE – and the FDA called for additional safety tests which the industry was not able to provide. The only two sunscreen ingredients still included on the GRASE list are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, most often found in products that are manufactured to be reef-safe sunscreens.
Which brings us back to the beginning of this blog: What’s good for vulnerable coral larva is also good for the people you love! Stream2Sea body care products are the only sunscreens on the planet which have been tested safe for fresh and saltwater fish and coral larva.
Don’t you and your family deserve that level of protection?
Note to our fellow science lovers: Most of the clinical research identifies the chemical commonly called oxybenzone as benzophenone-3 if you chose to do additional research on the issue.
Join us on our journey to create body care products that are safe for us and for our oceans. Together we can do better!
Formulator & CEO
From Stream2Sea – Protect what you love
Autumn Blum, Founder & Cosmetic Chemist of Stream2Sea, the ONLY mineral sunscreen that’s been tested and proven safe for fish and coral larvae, AND has passed the stringent HEL Labs Protect Land + Sea certification.