2-Hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone, also called oxybenzone or benzophenone-3 (BP-3) absorbs ultraviolet (UV) light and is used in sunscreens, but also to protect polymers from UV damage. The compound has shown weak estrogenic activity in studies and, thus, is a suspected endocrine disruptor. Its uptake via the skin from cosmetic products has been investigated, but much less is known about the uptake from contaminated clothes.
Glenn C. Morrison, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Rolla, USA, and colleagues have studied the effect of wearing clothing that has been exposed to air containing BP-3. The team exposed cotton t-shirts to elevated air concentrations of BP-3 in a dosing chamber for 32 days. Volunteers then wore the t-shirts for 3 hours in a well-ventilated room. The participants had been instructed not to use sunscreen or other products that contain UV filters. Urine and blood samples were collected and analyzed.
The researchers found BP-3 in both blood and urine of the participants, as well as its metabolite BP-1 in the urine samples. According to the researchers, the direct application of sunscreen etc. should be the dominant source of BP-3 exposure, but unintentional exposure via air/clothes could contribute to the overall dose in a meaningful way, especially for infants.
- Dermal Uptake of Benzophenone-3 from Clothing,
Glenn C. Morrison, Gabriel Bekö, Charles J. Weschler, Tobias Schripp, Tunga Salthammer, Jonathan Hill, Anna-Maria Andersson, Jørn Toftum, Geo Clausen, Hanne Frederiksen,
Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017.