According to an order released today by the FDA, sunscreen manufacturers have not answered the FDA’s 2019 call to conduct studies on the health effects of sunscreen, which was put into place to ensure the active ingredients in sunscreens are safe. Additionally, the FDA says two new studies on the the absorption of sunscreen chemicals show that more data is needed from manufacturers to determine the safety of sunscreen chemicals. With this, the FDA is issuing a final order for manufacturers to address safety concerns about the ingredients in their products.
In 2019, the FDA determined that a handful of the chemicals commonly found in sunscreens—the list includes cinoxate, oxybenzone, homosalate and ensulizole—needed additional safety data in order to continue production. After studies were conducted, oxybenzone was found in about 20 percent of the products assessed by EWG, and it was determined that the ingredient could be absorbed through the dermis in large amounts, potentially disrupting the endocrine system. Per the release, additional studies conducted since have shed light on the possible dangerous endocrine effects of homosalate and avobenzone.
“Sunscreen chemicals like oxybenzone pose significant health concerns, but the sunscreen industry continues to bury its head in the sand,” says Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president for government affairs, according to a release. “We’re grateful the FDA continues to demand basic data on the health effects of these chemicals…Sunscreen sales have increased dramatically, so sunscreen companies can certainly afford to conduct the studies needed to ensure their customers are safe.”