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Problematic UV filters in sunscreen creams

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Chemical UV filters penetrate through the skin and enter the bloodstream. An alternative to mineral filters.

Most sunscreen contains chemical filters such as octochryl or avobenzone. They turn dangerous UV rays into heat. However, these filters not only stay on the skin but also penetrate it. This shows a recent study by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In 24 test subjects, UV filters have been detected in the blood, not too short. Limits were obviously exceeded.

6000 tons of sunscreen in the sea

Since the 1990s, the toxicologist from Zurich Margret Schlumpf from the Greentox organization works with UV filters in sunscreen creams. She could even prove it in her mother's milk.

Therefore, the results of American researchers are not surprising: "We have a large body surface, we only go over sunscreen with A to Z." It's still not clear how much the chemical UV filters are dangerous in the blood. And that is exactly the problem, the toxicologist criticizes. "The UV filters used today in large quantities in sunscreen are still not sufficiently explored."

Another problem: according to the estimation of the US Navy Administration, each year it emits 6000 tons of sunscreen into the sea. Since the chemical UV filters are poorly soluble in water, they remain there. For the protection of coral, Hawaii forbidden from 2021 sunblocks with certain chemical filters.

Alternative: mineral filters

But there are alternatives: sunscreen with mineral filters, with titanium dioxide. These particles remain on the skin and reflect UV rays like mirrors.

However, titanium dioxide also has a shortage, says Lucer Silvio Arpagaus, a cantonal chemist. "Such sunscreens have a strong white color that many consumers do not accept well." Titan dioxide in nanoforms offers an alternative. "But nanoparticles are not indisputable: there are toxicological problems. At the moment, there are more and more sunscreen with mineral filters without nanoparticles.

Dermatologist Christian Surber has long recommended this: "Pregnant women or breastfeeding women, even children, should use sunscreen products with mineral UV filters."

The Swiss authorities do not see the need for action

Sunscreen creams with mineral filters are mostly available in drugstores, pharmacies and healthy food stores. But you can find them on Coop, Manor and sometimes in Aldi.

The Federal Office for Food Safety and Veterinary Affairs (FSIO) does not see the need for action in this regard. At the request of the SRF consumer magazine "Espresso" it was said that chemical UV filters were tested and considered safe. Together with the EU, each filtering substance would determine what amount should be contained in sunscreen products.