Sunscreen Could Become Dangerous With Water, Sun Exposure

Ottawa – Sunscreens can decompose by interacting with chlorinated water and solar radiation, giving rise to potentially dangerous products, Russian researchers warn.

Scientists at Lemonosov University in Moscow have focused more specifically on avobenzone, a chemical filter that is used in several sunscreens.

Avobenzone has the ability to absorb ultraviolet rays and is not, by itself, a hazardous substance. However, researchers found that it degrades when exposed to chlorine and sunlight. This decomposition may occur directly on the wet skin of the bather.

The degradation of avobenzone gives rise in particular to phenols and chlorinated acetylbenzene – two products that are part of the tear gas used by the police.

Finally, researchers warn that avobenzone, if it comes in contact with copper salts that are often used to color water, will produce significant amounts of bromoform, a product that can interfere with the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

The study was published in Chemosphere.

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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