Statement by Alexandra Kowcz, Chief Scientist, Personal Care Products Council, Addressing a Recent Paper on Potential Presence of Benzophenone in Sunscreens Containing Octocrylene
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, D.C. – “Sunscreens on the market today are backed by decades of safe use to help adults and children guard against the dangers of sun exposure, playing a critical role in the fight against skin cancer. The recently published research paper, ‘Benzophenone Accumulates Over Time from the Degradation of Octocrylene in Commercial Sunscreen Products’ perpetuates misinformation and needlessly misleads and scares consumers about the safety of sunscreen products, potentially discouraging sunscreen use and putting consumers’ health at risk.
“The study claims the sunscreen ingredient octocrylene can naturally degrade into the chemical benzophenone and increase in concentration as sunscreen products age, suggesting a potential risk to human health. However, global regulatory agencies have concluded that octocrylene is safe as a UV-filter in products such as sunscreen cream and lotion, sunscreen pump spray, face creams, hand cream and lip products. It is important to note that the report’s authors concluded that additional research should be conducted.
“Octocrylene is a chemical sun filter that provides balanced UVB and UVA protection. It remains stable during sun exposure, provides better water resistance and global regulatory bodies permit its use. Octocrylene has been approved for use as an active sunscreen ingredient by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for decades. While the FDA has asked for additional data on a number of sunscreen active ingredients (including octocrylene), the agency has clearly stated that this request does not indicate that these ingredients are unsafe. In addition, given the recognized public health benefits of sunscreen use, FDA urged consumers to continue to use sunscreen in conjunction with other sun-protection measures as FDA gathers additional scientific information. PCPC and its member companies have been actively working with the FDA to provide data that will allow an updated safety assessment of octocrylene.
“PCPC and its member companies support the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s efforts to review the state of science on currently marketed sunscreen ingredients, their fate and effects in aquatic environments, and the potential public health implications associated with changes to the use of sunscreens.
‘The European Union (EU) includes octocrylene in Annex VI of the Cosmetic Products Regulation (No 1223/2009) as an approved UV sunscreen filter. The EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) concluded octocrylene is safe in sunscreen products as recently as March 31, 2021.
“The FDA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Surgeon General, American Academy of Dermatology, Skin Cancer Foundation, and health professionals worldwide consistently advocate for the use of broad-spectrum sunscreens as part of a safe-sun regimen. Nonprofit health organizations and government agencies recommend using sunscreens as part of a safe-sun regimen to prevent skin cancer. CDC’s Sun Safety recommendations note the importance of daily sunscreen use to help prevent most skin cancers, even on cloudy and overcast days.
“As sunscreen manufactures, our goal is to provide our consumers with access to a wide variety of safe, effective and innovative sunscreens so they can make informed decisions. Sunscreen is an important part of an overall safe sun program. It is our hope that using sunscreen becomes as much of a habit as putting on your seatbelt.”
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Founded in 1894, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the voice and advocate for 600 member companies representing the $450 billion global cosmetics and personal care products industry. PCPC’s members represent approximately 90% of the U.S. beauty industry and are some of the most beloved and trusted brands in beauty and personal care today. As manufacturers, distributers and suppliers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day – from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, makeup and fragrance – PCPC’s member companies are global leaders committed to safety, quality and innovation.