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Food Additives

Risk-benefit assessment of use of sunscreen

Report no:

Ordered: 27.02.2018

Published: 24.03.2019

Key message:

Are there only benefits of using sunscreen, or is there any risk associated with the use? The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment suggests to prepare a risk/benefit assessment of sunscreen as protection against sun exposure.

The aim is to compare any health benefits by using sunscreen, such as preventing skin cancer, with any health damage associated with sunscreen use, either substances in the sunscreen or because the sun protection is to effective. VKM will assess Norwegian conditions.

VKM has prepared a protocol to describe the methodology to be used for assessing risk.

Download the protocol.PDF

About the assessment

The project is divided into two phases. First, the VKM will prepare a protocol detailing the approach and methodology. VKM will decide whether the panel will perform the risk/benefit assessment when the protocol is approved.


The incidence of skin cancer in Norway is among the highest in the world, and mortality of skin cancer in Norway is highest in Europe. It is believed that the cause of the high occurrence is sunbathing habits, such as solarium use and vacations at sunny holiday destinations. At the same time, there is uncertainty in the population regarding the negative health effects of sunscreen ingredients and whether you get enough vitamin D using sunscreen.

The VKM´s Panel on Food Additive will be responsible for the assessment. The protocol will be published in September 2018.

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
@: vkm@vkm.no

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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