What is it?

“3-Benzylidene camphor (3-BC) is a mixture of several isomeric chemical compounds. The mixture was formerly used in cosmetics as a component (UV filter) of sunscreens. 3-BC can act like a hormone, as shown in cell tests and animal experiments, and is likely to have harmful effects on aquatic ecosystems.” Wikipedia (translated from German)

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

“3-benzylidene camphor (3-BC) is an endocrine disruptor with estrogenic, antiandrogen and progesterone activity, affecting several body functions and target organs including reproduction, development, immune function and behavior.” – ChemSec’s SIN List, a database of chemicals likely to be banned or restricted in the near future.

The Danish Center of endocrine Disruptors have found the following, ”3-BC has been shown to increase uterine weight in immature rats, and in reproductive studies, perinatal 3-BC exposure has been shown to cause delayed sexual maturation, decreased relative epididymis and seminal vesicle weights in adult male offspring, while female offspring showed irregular oestrous cyclicity and strongly impaired sexual behaviour. In fish, 3-BC has been shown to induce vitellogenin and cause significant effects on reproduction.”

They also classify 3-benzylidene camphor (3-BC) as an endocrine disruptor in Category 1: “an endocrine disruptor of very high regulatory concern based on the dose level at which effects are observed”

Researchers from Danish EDMaRC have found that almost half of all approved UV filters – including 3-BC – in traditional sunscreens interfere with the function of sperm, which can lead to the sperm failing to fertilize an egg.

France already banned the use of 3-BC in cosmetics in 2011due to the suspected dangerous effects on hormones. In 2015 it was also prohibited for use in cosmetics in the rest of EU.

How is it used?

3-BC is a chemical sunscreen used as a UV-absorber in various cosmetics, most often found in sunscreens outside of the EU and the US (where it is not allowed).

EDmaRC has found the following “Biomonitoring studies show that over 90% of the Danish population excretes UV filters in their urine not only during the summer period, but throughout the whole year. It is caused by wide industrial use of UV filters, not only in sunscreens, but also in many other everyday consumer products, such as personal care products, food packaging, furniture, clothes, detergent, toys, cleansing agents and many others. Widespread use of UV filters is caused by their unique properties to protect colors from blushing and to protect plastic from melting due to sun exposure.”

We use the European Commissions definition of Cosmetics:
“Cosmetics range from everyday hygiene products such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, and toothpaste to luxury beauty items including perfumes and makeup”.

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