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Measuring Sunscreen Chemicals in South Carolina Coastal Waters

Published on: 12/16/2015
Primary Contact(s): ed.wirth@noaa.gov

A recent NCCOS study in Marine Pollution Bulletininvestigatedthe distribution of five sunscreen ingredients (oxybenzone, octocrylene, avobenzone, padimate-O, and octinoxate) measured in the coastal waters of South Carolina. Sunscreen chemicals are increasingly used in personal care products to protect the skin from the damaging effects of UV radiation; however, laboratory studies showedthat some of these chemicals cause damage to corals and other aquatic species. Seawater from six beaches along the SC coast, each with different levels of use by the public, was collected and analyzed. Highest concentrations, foundin the summer months, were associated with beaches that had the greatest public access and utilization. These baseline studies are important for developing risk assessments that link laboratory research with field observations.

Warm weather brings increased recreational usage of SC beaches as well as increased application of sunscreen products.

Warm weather brings increased recreational usage of SC beaches as well as increased application of sunscreen products. Credit: NOAA

For more information, see http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X15300850 or contact Ed.Wirth@noaa.gov.

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