On The Radio- Eco-friendly sunscreen


Kasey Dresser | March 26, 2018

This week’s segment looks at a new company working to create environmentally safe sunscreen. 


An eco-friendly sunscreen is currently being developed in an attempt to help the environment.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Sunscreen is an absolute must for defending against ultraviolet radiation, or UV rays. UV rays are very damaging to the skin and repeated sun exposure can contribute to a higher probability of getting skin cancer. But many sunscreens use oxybenzone and octinoxate (oc-tin-ox-ate), two chemicals that can accumulate in the ocean and are toxic to marine life.

As people swim and enjoy the ocean waves, the sunscreen on their bodies is slowly washed away into the ocean water. An estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen pollutes coral reef areas of the ocean every year.

Scientists at the University of Florida have recently discovered a more natural, less harmful key ingredient to sunscreen—shinorine (shin-oh-rine), a UV-absorbing amino acid. Shinorine is produced from algea. Extracting a usable amount takes a long time, as algae grows very slowly.

Researcher, Yousong Ding, discovered that he could increase the production of shinorine by genetically altering algae. He hopes that his findings will persuade cosmetic companies to integrate the natural material into eco-friendly sunscreens.

For more information, visit iowa-environmental-focus dot org.

From the UI Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research, I’m Betsy Stone.

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