UV filters are an environmental threat in the Gulf of Mexico: a case study of Texas coastal zones

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UV filters are the main ingredients in many cosmetics and personal care products. A significant amount of lipophilic UV filters annually enters the surface water due to large numbers of swimmers and sunbathers. The nature of these compounds cause bioaccumulation in commercial fish, particularly in estuarine areas. Consequently, biomagnification in the food chain will occur. This study estimated the amount of four common UV filters (ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, EHMC; octocrylene, OC; butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, BM-DBM; and benzophenone-3, BP3), which may enter surface water in the Gulf of Mexico. Our data analysis was based on the available research data and EPA standards (age classification/human body parts). The results indicated that among the 14 counties in Texas coastal zones, Nueces, with 43 beaches, has a high potential of water contamination through UV filters; EHMC: 477 kg year−1; OC: 318 kg year−1; BM-DBM: 258 kg year−1; and BP by 159 kg year−1. Refugio County, with a minimum number of beaches, indicated the lowest potential of UV filter contamination. The sensitive estuarine areas of Galveston receive a significant amount of UV filters. This article suggests action for protecting Texas estuarine areas and controlling the number of tourists and ecotourism that occurs in sensitive areas of the Gulf of Mexico.




Sharifan, H., Klein, D., & Morse, A. N. (2016). UV filters are an environmental threat in the Gulf of Mexico: a case study of Texas coastal zones. Oceanologia, 58(4), 327–335. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oceano.2016.07.002

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