Author G. Kunze, A. Schlifke, N. Hefner, E. Jackson, K. Berg, A. Janssen, J. Vollhardt
Journal Edition sofw journal 11-2021

Abstract

In sun care products, UV filters are the most important active substances, protecting the user against UV radiation. Recently, these substances have been linked to concerns about application safety and potential harmful effects on the environment. Ample human safety data and environmental compatibility studies are available already, but nevertheless, the debate about the possible impact of UV filters, in particular in relation to coral systems, has received widespread public attention. Consumers want to make the best choices for protecting the environment, but that is only possible with deep expert knowledge. The aim of this project, therefore, was to create an easy-to-comprehend information system, and ideally a logo as well, to facilitate decision-making. The system needs to use all available knowledge on the eco-compatibility features of UV filters and connects all available data in a transparent and logical manner. A newly developed computer-aided system helps sunscreen developers to design, or simply rate and compare their sunscreen products. The option of comparing products to a virtual eco-benchmark, based on the median of an eco-score distribution of hundreds of marketed sunscreens, takes comparison to a new level. Public product databases were analyzed with a smart algorithm to derive the necessary individual sunscreen eco-scores. The result of this comparison is an easy-to-comprehend, relative eco-label, designed to connect directly with consumers and to give them the choice of purchasing the best available products for the environment. 

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