What is it?

“Enzacamene (INN; also known as 4-methylbenzylidene camphor or 4-MBC) is an organic camphor derivative that is used in the cosmetic industry for its ability to protect the skin against UV, specifically UV B radiation.” Wikipedia

What are the effects?

This substance belongs to the groups:

4-MBC, short for 4-methylbenzylidene-camphor (4-MBC) and also known as enzacamene, is a chemical used as a UV light absorber in sunscreens. It is prohibited for use as a UV filter in the US but can be found in European sunscreens.

“4-MBC is an endocrine disruptor with estrogen, antiandrogen, thyroid and progesterone activity, affecting several body functions and target organs including the development of reproductive organs and behavior.” – ChemSec’s SIN List, a database of chemicals likely to be banned or restricted in the near future.

They have also data showing that 4-MBC “has been found in human milk, water and in wild fish in rivers and lakes in Switzerland.”

Researchers from Danish EDMaRC have found that almost half of all approved UV filters – including 4-MBC – in traditional sunscreens interfere with the function of sperm, which can lead to the sperm failing to fertilize an egg.

How is it used?

As mentioned above, 4-MBC can be found as a UV-filter in various cosmetics*, especially in sunscreen products. It specifically protects against UVB rays and is used both to protect the customers’ skin from UV light but also for product protection.

Products containing 4-MBC also include daily skincare products; skin creams and lotions, anti-aging, and lip products. The European Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (SCCP) warns of oral intake of 4-MBC through lip products.

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 the 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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