US activists, politicians demand FDA reclassify ‘Toxic 3 Os’ used in sunscreen

What is the News?

A coalition of environmental groups, community leaders, academics and businesses in the USA have filed a petition seeking the removal of sunscreen products containing what they call “the Toxic 3 Os.”

What are Toxic 3 Os?

Toxic 3 Os are three chemicals namely Oxybenzone, Octinoxate and Octocrylene.

These chemicals are active ingredients present in more than two-thirds of all sunscreens.

They are considered harmful as they pose a threat to public health, marine life and coral reefs.

How does Toxic 3 Os pose a threat?

Firstly, Octocrylene in sun protection products degrades into benzophenone, a carcinogen that can also interfere with key hormones and reproductive organs. 

Secondly, they cause human cell damage that has been linked to cancer, disrupt hormones, have been found in breast milk, blood and urine and are known allergens.

Thirdly, these chemicals are also devastating to coral reefs and marine life. They wash off people’s bodies when they swim and contaminate through wastewater runoff and cause ‘zombie’ coral, coral bleaching as well as other issues.

Note: Zombie Corals are corals that looks healthy but is unable to reproduce, 

Lastly, they are also detrimental when there is fishing in contaminated waters, impacting human health and the economy.

Source: This post is based on the article “US activists, politicians demand FDA reclassify ‘Toxic 3 Os’ used in sunscreen” published in Down To Earth on 15th September 2021.

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