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Sunscreens with benzophenone-3 unsuitable for children

Sunscreens that contain benzophenone-3 provide effective protection against both UVA and UVB radiation, but these preparations should not be used for young children. The substance can be found in the urine of adults several days after coming home from a holiday in the sun. A doctoral thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy has recently presented these results.

Benzophenone-3 provides effective protection against both UVA and UVB radiation. The substance has been available since the 1980s.

"There has been a certain amount of discussion about Benzophenone-3, and it is for this reason not common in Swedish sunscreens. This is a shame, since there are few substances that protect as effectively against UVA radiation", says dermatologist Helena Gonzalez.

It is known that benzophenone-3 can cause contact eczema, but there is limited knowledge about other adverse effects.

Helena Gonzalez carried out a study in which 26 people applied sunscreen containing 4% benzophenone-3 to the complete skin morning and evening for five days. These people supplied a urine specimen every day.

"We designed the study such that it was similar to what is normal when people take a normal holiday in the sun", says Helena Gonzalez.

The subjects continued to provide urine specimens after they stopped applying the sunscreen. The urine still contained benzophenone-3 five days after stopping using the sunscreen, a result that suggests that the substance is being stored in the body. The average total amount of benzophenone-3 excreted was 3.7%.

"We don't know how long it is stored, and we don't known whether it is important, but I suggest that parents of small children should avoid using sunscreens that contain benzophenone-3, to be on the safe side", says Helena Gonzalez.

Children under the age of two years have not fully developed the enzymes that are believed to break down benzophenone-3. This suggests, in theory,
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Contact: Elin Lindstrm Claessen
elin.lindstrom@sahlgrenska.gu.se
46-317-733-869
Swedish Research Council
6-Nov-2006


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