UV-filter pollution: current concerns and future prospects

de Miranda, L. L. R.; Harvey, K. E.; Ahmed, A. and Harvey, S. C. (2021). UV-filter pollution: current concerns and future prospects. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 193(12), article no. 840.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-021-09626-6


UV-filters are widely used in cosmetics and personal care products to protect users’ skin from redamage caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Globally, an estimated 16,000 to 25,000 tonnes of products containing UV-filters were used in 2014 with modern consumption likely to be much higher. Beyond this use in cosmetics and personal care products, UV-filters are also widely used to provide UV-stability in industrial products such as paints and plastics. This review discusses the main routes by which UV-filters enter aquatic environments and summarises the conclusions of studies from the past 10 years that have investigated the effects of UV-filters on environmentally relevant species including corals, microalgae, fish, and marine mammals. Safety data regarding the potential impact of UV-filters on human health are also discussed. Finally, we explore the challenges surrounding UV-filter removal and research on more environmentally friendly alternatives to current UV-filters.

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