A University of Hawai’i agency contributed to a national report about sunscreen.
The UH Cancer Center was represented on a committee that put together a new report highlighting key takeaways about sunscreen, including how ultraviolet radiation is associated with skin cancer and how sunscreen has contributed to risk reduction. The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine also recommends the Environmental Protection Agency pursue an ecological risk assessment on all UV filters, which are chemicals added to sunscreen to absorb or block the sun’s UV radiation.
The assessment would identify potential risks to aquatic ecosystems and the species that live in them.
“This report is the first step towards more and better science to understand the complexities surrounding sunscreen’s impact on the environment and human health,” Kevin Cassel, an associate professor at the UH Cancer Center and member of the committee completing the report, said in a press release.
The report, “Review of Fate, Exposure and Effects of Sunscreens in Aquatic Environments and Implications for Sunscreen Usage and Human Health”, pulled together extensive amounts of information from the environmental research and human health perspectives.
It does not identify which UV filters are safe for coral reefs or other organisms, as the committee did not conduct a risk characterization. The committee recommends further research to better understand the human health implications of any changes in sunscreen availability and usage.
The EPA sponsored the report, which was mandated by U.S. Congress. The committee’s work occurred throughout the course of about 1.5 years and included public meetings with a range of experts about the environmental and the public health sides of the task to supplement the committee’s expertise.
The findings and recommendations were based on the committee’s assessment of the available information and were deliberated until consensus was achieved.