Ingredients in sunscreen can damage freshwater ecosystem: Research

Washington(WA): The active ingredients identified in sunscreen have detrimental impacts on freshwater ecosystems, as per new study by University of Alberta biologists,

Results of the study have been posted within the journal Science of the Overall Environment.

The results show that long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) filters–involving avobenzone, oxybenzone, & octocrylene–is lethal for some of the organisms residing in freshwater environments. One such highest sources of UV-filter contamination in both marine & freshwater environments is from sunscreen leaching off of the skin awhile swimming.

“We accomplish really know that UV-filters are particularly devastating to coral reefs & cause bleaching, however there was almost no study on what the impacts are to freshwater animals,” clarified Aaron Boyd, a graduate student within the Dept. of Biological Sciences & lead author on the paper.”To address this, we considered the impacts of UV-filters within the water flea, Daphnia Magna.”

The results show that exposure to UV-filters over 48 hours prevented the fleas from navigating using their own environment. Exposure over 14 days–similar to what might occur near famous beach regions–proved lethal for the tiny crustaceans.

“This is particularly bad for a freshwater ecosystem as a whole, as Daphnia are an important part of the meal chain for numerous smaller species of fish,” added further Boyd, who finished this study in collaboration with graduate student Connor Stewart, within the supervision of Assistant Professor Tamzin Blewett & Professor Keith Tierney. “Losing a Daphnia public would put all of the species that rely on them in risk of starvation, & in specific circumstances can cause the regional ecosystem to collapse.”

The great information, Boyd clarified, is that the fleas have been able to recover their own capability to navigate using the water once the contamination has been eliminated–a great sign for environmental recovery. “These chemicals are short-lived within the environment, so in case we delete the sources of pollution, afterwards there is a reasonable opportunity for the organisms in those environments to recover,” he stated.

Furthermore study is needed to best know the long-term effect of UV-filters–& study continues within the search for non-toxic UV filters.