Toxic Tuesday: Oxybenzone
What is OXYBENZONE?
Oxybenzone (a derivative of benzophenone) is widely used as a chemical filter in sunscreens added to nearly 65 percent of the non-mineral sunscreens in EWG’s 2017 sunscreen database. Oxybenzone can cause allergic skin reactions (Rodriguez 2006). In laboratory studies it is a weak estrogen and has potent anti-androgenic effects (Krause 2012).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population, based on a representative sampling of children and adults (Calafat 2008). Participants who reported using sunscreen have higher oxybenzone exposures (Zamoiski 2015).
Popular mainstream products that contain oxybenzone:
From left to right: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen, Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream, Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen, Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen, Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Soother, Coppertone Kids Sunscreen
According to Safe Cosmetics.org:
The California EPA’s Proposition 65 list identifies benzophenone (of which oxybenzone is a derivative) as a possible human carcinogen. Experimental studies suggest benzophenone may lead to several kinds of tumors.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) classifies benzophenone as a known toxicant because benzophenone can cause liver hypertrophy in the rat at lower doses. Oxybenzone can permeate across the skin and accumulate in blood, the kidneys and the liver, and may be toxic to liver cells., 
Studies have found that exposure to high doses of BP2 may affect reproduction in fish. BP2 affects ovaries of female fish and testes of male fish, and also reduces production of eggs and sperm.
Benzophenone is toxic to aquatic organisms. Oxybenzone is persistent and can collect in fat. Oxybenzone concentrations vary considerably by season, and may be especially high in areas where sunscreens are heavily used in specific months. In most cases, concentrations present low hazards to aquatic systems. However, in some of the hotspots (for example, San Diego County) concentrations may be high enough to raise concerns.
An estimated 25 to 60 million bottles worth of sunscreen chemicals wash off into coral reef areas each year. About 25 percent of sunscreen applied to the skin is released into the water within 20 minutes of submersion. When we shower, these chemicals wash off our skin and can pollute wastewater that ends up in the ocean as well.
A 2015 study analyzing six coastal sites in South Carolina detected oxybenzone in all sites and in 90 percent of samples. The average concentration of oxybenzone found was more than four times the concentration that damaged coral in research studies.
Another study found the amount of oxybenzone in the Virgin Islands coral reefs to be more than 4,000 times the concentration that damaged coral in other studies.
How to choose better products for your family and the enviornment? Use EWG’s guide to safer sunscreens derived from less toxic ingredients like zinc oxide.
Keep oxybenzone away from you and your families and choose healthier alternatives!
Until the next Toxic Tuesday…stay shrewd, Foxies!🦊❤