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Sunscreen, cosmetics may harm coral reefs: Study

Press Trust of India  |  London 

shed by swimmers may be toxic to marine creatures and contribute to reef decline, a study has found.

Although is critical for preventing and skin cancer, some of its ingredients are not so beneficial to ocean-dwelling creatures, according to a study published in the journal

Researchers from said that one such chemical, octocrylene (OC), which is also in some cosmetics and hair products, accumulates in as fatty acid esters that could be toxic to the marine organism.

According to several research studies, up to 14,000 tons of end up in the world's oceans every year.

To protect reefs, the state of recently banned sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, two known to harm coral, with the law set to take effect in January 2021.

Another substance, OC, can be found in cosmetics such as hair sprays and conditioners, as well as sunscreens.

Although OC is toxic to coral at high concentrations, researchers wondered how it would affect coral at levels more likely to be encountered in the

To find out, they exposed coral to OC at various concentrations for a week.

They found that the coral was sensitive to the compound at concentrations of 50 microgrammes per litre and greater, which is about 10 times higher than levels measured in the ocean.

OC accumulated in the coral as fatty acid conjugates, which may interfere with the organism's metabolism.

The team also detected increased levels of acylcarnitines in the exposed corals, which are produced under conditions of abnormal fatty acid metabolism and

Researchers said that levels of OC in the ocean might have been underestimated previously because these measurements did not take into account OC fatty acid esters.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, January 10 2019. 14:40 IST