FDA says sunscreen chemicals accumulate in body at high levels

A recent FDA study found that six active ingredients in sunscreens (avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate) led to maximum plasma concentration rates ranging from 3.3 ng/mL to 258.1 ng/mL, depending on the chemical and whether it was applied to the skin in the form of a lotion or spray.

The study included a total of 48 healthy participants who were randomly assigned to use one of four sunscreen products comprising lotions and sprays. Participants applied sunscreens to 75% of their bodies once on the first day and four times on days 2 through 4. Researchers collected 34 blood samples over 21 days from each participant, finding that concentrations of the chemicals increased after each day of application. The research suggests they accumulated within the bloodstream.

All of the ingredients continued to exceed the FDA safety threshold of 0.5 ng/mL on day 7, and two of the ingredients, homosalate and oxybenzone, remained above the threshold on day 21.

FDA says under the CARES Act, the agency is required to propose a revised sunscreen order by September 27, 2021.