A new study presented in the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology proves sunscreen lotion is good for the skin, but bad for coral reefs. The culprit: the oxybenzone ingredient that is usually included in sun screen lotions, researchers have explained.
- Effects of oxybenzone on humans and marine species
- The details of the current experiment
- Findings of the new study and measures that scientists want to adopt to prevent coral reef destruction.
Oxybenzone belongs to the category of organic compounds and it is usually found in many sunscreen lotions. It is sometimes found under the name of benzophenone, but its effects are usually the same, scientists have explained. The substance is usually included in cosmetic products because it offers good protection against UVA and UVA light, but recent studies suggest it can have other noxious effects on humans’ DNA and not only.
Craig Downs, the executive director of the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory from Virginia, has recently found that oxybenzone is actually bad for humans’ DNA. After repeated use of sunscreen lotions, some users presented DNA damages.
Scientists wanted to establish whether the use of sunscreen lotions has negative impact on the surrounding environment, as well. They have analyzed the structure of marine water, as well as the condition of underwater species. Researchers were particularly interested in coral reefs because the latter run many risks.
It was found that large amounts of oxybenzone exist among coral reefs that are highly populated. Naturally, the presence of the substance can be explained through the frequent use of sunscreen lotions.
Investigators have further discovered that most corals in the region had similar DNA damage as the samples collected from human participants. It appears that coral larvae are trapped in their skeleton, which prevents them from dispersing themselves in the water. These findings were observed while researchers exposed coral larvae to increasing values of oxybenzone within special labs.
The substance prevented the larvae from growing naturally. In addition, scientists have observed that corals lose their vivid coral when exposed to the said substance for a longer period of time. This, because the larvae are not expelled from the coral.
The team of researchers used the same volume of oxbenzone concentration that is found in the ocean of lab larvae. They have discovered that the cells of seven species of coral were killed when exposed to this concentration.
The only solution that scientists could think of was to replace existing sunscreen lotions with natural products. Completely giving up on sun screen protection is definitely not a solution as the skin is very sensitive to UVA and UVB rays. However, it is possible to use natural ingredients, such as, olive oil and calendula-based oil as these are harmless to nature and highly benefic for the skin.
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