In this scoping review, summarised research on the impact of sunscreen ingredients on the environment is mapped.
The purpose was 1) to determine the extent of evidence summarised in systematic reviews within this research area and 2) to map the evidence according to the ingredients studied, the hypotheses addressed, the type of endpoints studied as well as the reported key findings.
A systematic review follows specific methods to ensure objectivity, transparency and reproducibility. It is a review of a clearly formulated question, and systematic and explicit methods are used to identify, select, and critically appraise relevant research, and to collect and analyse data from the studies that are included in the review.
This scoping review on sunscreen ingredients and environmental effects is guided by the framework for scoping reviews proposed by Arksey and O'Malley (2005), the methodological advancement by Levac et al. (2010) and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) extension for scoping reviews (Tricco et al., 2018).
“We identified 41 reviews that summarised research on the environmental effects of different ingredients in sunscreen. Thirty-one of these were included in the scoping review. The rest were left out because they did not refer to primary studies, did not describe the purpose of the study, or because the effects studied were not clearly described,” explains Camilla Svendsen, scientific leader for the work.
She states that VKM has, among other things, mapped which ingredients have been studied, which negative effects were studied, and which models were used in these studies.
“This scoping review shows that many primary studies have been performed within this research area. The 31 reviews we included referred to over 200 different primary studies," says Svendsen.
"None of the 41 reviews we identified describes use of established methods to ensure objectivity, transparency and reproducibility." Svendsen continues.
"There is a demand for more systematic approaches to summarise the existing data, which would provide valuable scientific basis for decision making and highlight knowledge gaps," says Svendsen.
The report was assessed and approved by the VKM Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.
The members of the project group:
Camilla Svendsen – Chair of the project group and member of the Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food and Cosmetics
Eva Marie-Louise Denison – Norwegian Institute of Public Health
Tove Gulbrandsen Devold - Member of the Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.
Jens Rohloff - Member of the project group and member of the Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics
Maria Gulbrandsen Asmyhr – VKM Secretariat
Jostein Starrfelt – VKM Secretariat
Gro Haarklou Mathisen – Project manager, VKM Secretariat