Is benzophenone-3 in sunscreen?
The benzophenone derivative benzophenone-3 (BP3), also known as oxybenzone, is a common, FDA-approved active ingredient in many sunscreen products. Oxybenzone helps protect skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by absorbing UV radiation and dissipating it as heat.
Is benzophenone-3 or oxybenzone in sunscreen bad for you?
Numerous scientific panels and regulatory bodies, including FDA and the CIR, have reviewed benzophenone-3 and oxybenzone and determined it is safe for individuals when used as a sunscreen ingredient. In addition, in the United States, FDA regulates sunscreens as over-the-counter (OTC) drugs and subjects their active ingredients to rigorous scientific assessment, which includes a safety and efficacy review.
Why is the state of Hawaii considering a ban on oxybenzone in sunscreen?
Hawaii’s legislature recently acted on some research reports claiming that the sunscreen ingredient oxybenzone may have negative effects on coral reefs and other marine species under certain circumstances.
The potential ban is somewhat controversial, as many other scientific and medical experts claim the research is very limited as to the negative effects of these ingredients on coral reefs. Others claim that some of the research cited was inconclusive and based on a limited body of scientific evidence. Another recent report from the International Coral Reef Initiative concluded that further research is needed to better understand if sunscreen ingredients pose a realistic threat to marine ecosystems.
Mineral sunscreens, also called sun blocks that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to physically block the sun’s rays, are not affected by current legislative action under discussion and will still be permitted for sale in Hawaii.
Is benzophenone used as a food additive?
In October 2018, FDA amended its food additive regulations to remove synthetically-derived benzophenone as an approved food flavoring substance. While FDA states that benzophenone does not pose a health risk to people when used as intended as a food additive, the Agency took action in response to findings that indicated that at much higher doses, benzophenone can cause cancer in animals.