Dr. Christian Cremer, Director Global Development & Technical Service UV Protection at BASF
BASF’s Care Creations® has recently introduced the EcoSun Pass. Can you tell us what this is exactly?
The EcoSun Pass from BASF’s Care Creations® is a methodology to assess the environmental impact of UV filters used in sunscreen formulations. It is a new approach that supports the transparent and holistic assessment of UV filters based on internationally recognized criteria and comprises eight different parameters, including environmental fate (i.e. bioaccumulation and biodegradation) and chronic toxicity (aquatic, sediment and soil organisms). It not only considers environmental factors for individual UV filters, but provides a comprehensive environmental evaluation of the entire filter system within a sunscreen product
Why did you see a need to develop this methodology?
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the damage being done to nature. As part of this development, the impact that sunscreens may have on various ecosystems, especially on the well-being of corals and coral reef communities, has recently reached a high level of awareness. As a result, we are observing that more and more people are willing to adapt their consumption behavior with regard to the environmental consequences of the products they use. Looking to the future, it is very likely that the demand for eco-friendly sun protection products will rise considerably. However, no scientifically sound or transparent system to rank and potentially improve the environmental impact of a given formulation has been made available on the market so far. As the global market leader in sun-care ingredients, BASF has taken the opportunity to create a scientifically sound matrix evaluation system to measure the environmental impact of sunscreen components, with a particular focus on UV filters. Our customers are now able to evaluate their sunscreens – including based on all relevant environmental aspects – thereby enabling the most eco-friendly consumer product to be brought onto the market.
What was BASF’s motivation behind developing the EcoSun Pass?
Our goal was to help our customers meet the increasing demand for more sustainable products that include environmentally friendly ingredients. The EcoSun Pass is based on the latest scientific findings, which improves regulatory acceptance. It enables us to advise formulators as early on as the development stage about which UV filter combinations are best suited for their application – in the interests of both the consumer and the environment.
Is the EcoSun Pass assessment limited to products by BASF?
Our environmental impact assessment system works entirely independently of our product portfolio. UV filters from various producers of a given formulation are assessed transparently. This means that possible improvements in formulations may or may not involve BASF ingredients.
Can you specify the different parameters involved?
The EcoSun Pass comprises eight different criteria, including acute and chronic environmental toxicity of a substance, e.g. the intrinsic capability of a substance to cause damage to environmental organisms after short-term or long-term exposure. The bioaccumulation potential of a substance is also assessed in a two-step approach using the octanol/water partitioning coefficient (log POW) as an initial screening criterion followed by more profound data (i.e. bioaccumulation studies). The biodegradation of a substance is another aspect of our EcoSun Pass, which assesses how quickly it can be disintegrated by microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi or other biological means.
The endocrine-related impacts of a substance or indications that it may disrupt the hormone systems of organisms are also evaluated and are part of the assessment. Moreover, the EcoSun Pass considers the effects of a substance on terrestrial flora and fauna as well as the damage it may cause to sediment-dwelling organisms.
The assessment of these different environmental impact aspects provides our customers with a comprehensive evaluation of their filter systems, allowing formulators to develop sunscreens with maximum environmental compatibility.